HALF the patients in hospital with Covid are fully vaccinated, Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar has told his parliamentary party.
The figure is much higher than in the recent past, when the large majority of those hospitalised were unvaccinated.
Mr Varadkar indicated however that vaccination was preventing the sick from getting even sicker, and ending up in intensive care.
He said the “vast majority” in ICU were not vaccinated. The current figure there is 86, many are intubated to assist their breathing.
The Tánaiste Leo Varadkar told the meeting the rising Covid case numbers were “worrying.”
He said the situation has deteriorated a lot since June, when there were 50 in hospital with as few as 15 in ICU .
Now there are 464 in hospital, he said. The number of cases per 100,000 people had jumped to 460 now from 86 in June.
TDs and senators heard the country’s Covid cases were rising off a high base, which was a cause of anxiety.
Mr Varadkar said that while there was some evidence of vaccine waning, the main cause was increased socialising.
The Fine Gael leader said there would now be a greater use of antigen testing nationwide but “it was not a panacea.”
Everyone should exercise “all precautionary measures,” he added, encouraging all people to get a vaccination.
A number of backbenchers, meanwhile, raised the increase in the carbon tax and the unpopularity of higher fuel prices in rural areas where people did more driving than city dwellers. Concerns were expressed about the overall rise in energy costs at the same time as climate mitigation measures.