Vaccines on their own are not enough to “turn around” current high rates of transmission of the Covid virus, according to chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan.
There are over 93pc of adults now fully vaccinated in Ireland.
Deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn said this evening that elective activity in hospitals is now being cancelled as a result of the “significant” Covid-19 burden on hospitals.
As of yesterday, 42pc of Covid patients in ICU were fully vaccinated.
“It’s not going to turn on vaccination alone. Clearly, vaccination alone is not going to be enough to turn around transmission,” said Dr Holohan at the weekly briefing of the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet).
“It’s very clear that no country can dispense with a reliance on some non pharmaceutical interventions, some level of good behaviour in terms of public health and some protections like Covid passes and things like that to add to the bonus and the benefit that comes from vaccination,” he said.
However, he denied that protective measures such as Covid passes or mask wearing would be required “forever”.
“We will need those in place for the forthcoming weeks and months to get us through the winter,” he said.
Dr Holohan also said that it would be “sensible” for people who take part in high-risk activities, such as going out to nightclubs, to allow a few days before they take part in other high-risk activities.
“There’s still a greater risk of transmission in those kinds of environments if there are people who are infected,” he said.
“You should be aware of the risks and that should inform the kind of activities that you take part in over the next period of time, particularly interaction with other people who might be vulnerable.”
More than 100 people are now in ICU with Covid-19, it was also confirmed at the briefing, with a further 1,631 new cases of the virus.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn said the dip in case numbers may be due to the Bank Holiday weekend, and has warned that higher case numbers could be anticipated towards the end of this week.
As of 8am this morning, 503 people are in hospital with coronavirus, 101 of which are in ICU.
Latest statistics from the Economic Social and Research Institute (ESRI) show that one in five people said that they “rarely or never” wore a mask, socially distanced or sanitised their hands while out and about.
Dr Holohan said that people need to “do more” to stick to the public health guidance.
“We need to do more - it might not be a huge amount more, collectively as a population, but it is going to be each one of us asking ourselves the question as members of the population - are we each doing as much as we reasonably can do?”
Visit our Covid-19 vaccine dashboard for updates on the roll out of the vaccination program and the rate of Coronavirus cases Ireland