A coronavirus vaccine could start to be rolled out here before the end of the year, according to the Health Minister.
The Government has today been setting out its plan for how 14.6 million doses will be distributed across the country.
It will start in nursing homes and large hospitals, with mass vaccination centres set up once more vaccines are available.
Around 1,500 healthcare workers and 180 community-based staff will be involved in administering the vaccine to people around the company.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has said its meeting to decide whether to approve the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine will now take place on December 21st, having previously been scheduled for a week later.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly says officials here are ready in case a jab is approved earlier than planned.
He said: "The plan was designed to be flexible - including if the EMA brought its timing forward.
"It is possible if the EMA does authorise this vaccine, that an initial - very-low level - of vaccination could actually begin before the new year."
— NewstalkFM (@NewstalkFM) December 16, 2020
Meanwhile, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said the state is preparing a compensation scheme around the vaccine.
The State has to indemnify the companies that provide the vaccines in order to get access.
The Taoiseach said they don't know what the scale of any possible compensation scheme might be as a result of indemnification.
He explained: "The indemnity clauses in the advance purchase agreements... are open-ended, requiring member states to provide legal support, costs, and payment of claims arising from any damages arising from administration of the vaccine.
"It's obviously not possible to quantify the extent of any claims that may arise."