A senior HSE official says GPs, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals will be involved in the rollout of any approved vaccine.
Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry says vaccines have transformed healthcare and people's lives, and there's a substantial amount of experience in Ireland based on previous large-scale vaccination programmes.
He has also praised the recent response of young people to recent COVID-19 restrictions, saying there's been a 'huge drop' in incidence rate among 18 to 25-year-olds.
Dr Henry says it shows that "blame and finger-wagging" on social media about isolated breaches of restrictions "doesn't necessarily represent the sum total of everyone's behaviour".
He was speaking as the 14-day incidence rate of the virus in Ireland remains below 80 - the lowest rate in Europe.
However, officials are saying there's no room for complacency, after yesterday saw the highest number of COVID-19 patients admitted to ICU since the spring.
Dr Henry told The Hard Shoulder those figures show how detrimental the virus can be for people.
He said we currently do have ICU capacity, but "we're only ever two or three weeks away from figures getting out of control, leading to people becoming critically ill, and then putting pressure on the ICU system".
Dr Henry said Ireland has been "fortunate" in the second wave, compared to massive surges in case numbers across the rest of Europe.
However, he warned the virus can still result in "serious illness, ICU, ventilation and worse" for people - particularly those in vulnerable groups.
As Christmas approaches, health officials have urged people to limit their social contacts wherever possible.
Dr Henry said "we can only expect" the reopening of the country and additional easing of restrictions over Christmas will lead to increased virus transmission.
He said: "The very reasons people enjoy Christmas is mixing together - meeting friends, parties, that great social scene... that's unfortunately which fosters ideal conditions for the virus to transmit.
"Clearly, I'm concerned about the impact on health and the impact on the HSE in terms of our capacity. We would say - as we've always said - that the control is in people's hands now.
"If people behave with reckless abandon over the Christmas period, and if people have loads of contacts... not only will we see loads of new cases, we'll see those cases have loads of close contacts."
He said a potential vaccine approval before the end of the year offers a 'beacon of hope', saying an effective vaccine will help 'rid us of the shackles' of COVID-19.
However, he stressed it will take some time for a portion of the population to be vaccinated to achieve 'herd immunity' of 70% - saying that won't happen in the UK either for 'many months' despite their vaccination programme now being underway.
He said healthcare workers including GPs, nurses and pharmacists will all be involved in vaccination programmes, and there is plenty of experience of large-scale programmes here.
He added that people have been 'knocking on our door' looking to help out with the rollout.