Ireland’s Covid jabs to go ahead despite cyber attack

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Ireland’s Covid-19 vaccination programme will continue as planned despite a cyber attack described as the most significant in the state’s history.

The vaccine booking portal has reopened after the health service was forced to temporarily shut down its IT system on Friday.

It is expected to be a few days before the system is fully restored.

About a quarter of a million doses will be given next week, RTÉ has reported.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) said it will go ahead with between 250,000 and 270,000 vaccinations.

It also said most appointments would also go ahead as planned, but X-ray appointments were “severely affected”.

Attack ‘not espionage’

An Irish minister said the incident was “possibly the most significant cybercrime attack on the Irish state”.

Ossian Smyth, an Irish minister with special responsibility for public procurement and eGovernment, said it “goes right to the core of the [health] system”.

However, he told RTÉ it was “not espionage”.

The authorities are continuing to assess the impact of the attack, which is believed to have been carried out by an international group of hackers.

The attack disrupted services at several Irish hospitals.

It resulted in a near complete shutdown of the HSE’s national and local network, forcing the cancellation of many outpatient clinics and healthcare services.

Taoiseach (Irish PM) Micheál Martin said that he had consulted with cyber security experts and that the state would not be paying a ransom.

He said it would “take some days” to assess its impact.

“What’s important is people cooperate with the HSE,” he said.