There have been 17,065 new cases of Covid-19 confirmed by the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) this evening.
This comes as almost six in ten adults (59pc) have now received a booster dose, chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said. This compares to an average of 32pc across Europe. Dr Holohan says Ireland boasts an “exceptional uptake”.
As of 8am today, there were 1,023 Covid-19 patients hospitalised, of whom 83 are in ICU.
“The primary purpose of vaccination has always been to prevent serious illness and death – Covid-19 vaccines continue to prove remarkably effective in this regard and have provided significant protection to the most vulnerable and to our health system in recent weeks, with the booster dose restoring protection against severe disease to 90pc. At present, just 20pc of people in intensive care have been boosted,” Dr Holohan said.
Dr Holohan said those who have been boosted are less susceptible to infection and, “if infected, are less infectious to others, compared with those who have not been boosted.
“It is important that those who have not yet availed of a booster vaccine now do so; appointments are available through vaccination centres, GPs and pharmacies.
“Finally, it is also very important that those who have not yet availed of any vaccine, for whatever reason, come forward for it as soon as possible. Without vaccination, they remain susceptible to the severest effects of Covid-19. Your GP, pharmacist, obstetrician or midwife will be very happy to discuss any concerns or questions you may have about vaccination,” Dr Holohan said.
Separately, new data has revealed that 756 people aged over 15 years were admitted to ICU with Covid-19 between the end of June and the start of December last year.
Figures published by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) show that men accounted for 60pc of all coronavirus related ICU admission and 56.2pc of all ICU Covid-19 patients were in the 65–74-year age group.
416 (55pc) out of the 756 patients were discharged, according to the report, 248 passed away in ICU (33pc) and 92 are still in ICU (12pc) – including 14 who were transferred to another critical care unit.
The HPSC has confirmed that of those who died, 222 patients were reported as having died in ICU, 17 passed away following a transfer from ICU to a ward or high dependency unit, and the location of death for nine patients has not yet been reported.
Of the 756 ICU patients, 604 had an existing underlying condition at the time of admission. Hypertension was the most common existing illness at 45pc, followed by chronic heart disease (33.6pc) and chronic kidney disease (12.3pc).
The report has also noted a marked increase in the number of women admitted to ICU with Covid-19 during the fourth and fifth waves of the pandemic compared to earlier ones.
The HPSC said there were 38 cases of Covid-19 reported as “pregnant or less than six weeks post-partum” in ICU during wave four and wave five. That is compared to two cases in wave one, one case in wave two and 23 cases in wave three.
Covid-19 vaccination data was available for 37 of the pregnant and post-partum women. Some 34 individuals reported not having received a vaccine, two cases reported having received one dose of a two-dose vaccine regimen prior to infection and one case had received two doses of a two-dose regimen prior to infection.
The HPSC said in general unvaccinated individuals are four times more likely to be hospitalised with Covid-19 than fully vaccinated individuals and 11 times more likely to be admitted to ICU.
Meanwhile, there have been 32 children (aged 0-14 years) reported to the HPSC as having laboratory confirmed Covid-19 and admitted to ICU since the pandemic began.