People living in Donegal are being urged not to travel to the North looking for a Covid vaccination unless they have an NHS number or are registered with a GP there.
Hundreds of people from across the Republic including Donegal have traveled across the border hoping to get a quick jab in recent days.
The online vaccination booking system does not require applicants to give their home address or medical card number to book a slot.
However, when people arrive at the vaccination centres all identity details including photos must be produced.
Many people from Donegal and other border counties who cross the border to work in the healthcare system in Northern Ireland have been vaccinated because they qualified as a result of their job.
However, others are not eligible unless they are registered with a GP in Northern Ireland and have a Health and Social Care (HSC) medical number, the equivalent of an NHS number.
Those who book a slot and arrive to be told they are not eligible do not face any penalties, but are refused a vaccine.
Patricia Donnelly, head of the vaccination programme in Northern Ireland, told RTE that those living south of the border should stop booking vaccinations if they are not eligible for them.
“Our scheme is not open to the residents of the Republic, sadly, but we are seeing increasing numbers of ineligible people, including people from the Republic of Ireland, trying to book an appointment at one of our vaccination centres,” she explained.
“But when they turn up at vaccination centres, they find they’re turned away because you would need to have a GP in Northern Ireland, have a health and social care number, or otherwise be eligible for health and social care services in Northern Ireland.
“Unfortunately, it’s hundreds. We had trickles of individuals really since the start of the programme, but we’ve noticed in the last week that it’s now turning into hundreds, and that would be the case across every single health trust, they’re getting hundreds of people booking on to the system.
“Only those who meet the criteria will be vaccinated. If you turn up and are not eligible you will be turned away and you will have wasted staff time in the process.
“It’s difficult when individuals travel some distance and arrive at a vaccination centre, full of hope, that you know here’s the beginning of the end for them, and they can get vaccinated.
“They are always turned away, so that is disappointing for them, and a difficult journey for them then to live with that disappointment.”
While it is not mandatory for those seeking to book a jab to include their home address, guidance is now being added to the system warning that applicants must live in Northern Ireland or fulfill the other eligibility criteria.