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5,590 new Covid-19 cases as Tony Holohan urges those eligible to take up booster shots

Dr Holohan urged people not to wait until after Christmas to get booster vaccine as Micheál Martin today warned half of all people offered the third jab are not turning up

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan

Seoirse Mulgrew and Paul Hyland

The Department of Health has confirmed 5,590 new cases of Covid-19 today.

As of 8am today, 505 patients were hospitalised with the virus and 117 are in ICU.

The number in ICU is up five on yesterday but down on a recent high of 132 on November 24. The number in hospital is down on a recent high of 605 on November 22.

The 14-day incidence of the disease per 100,000 head of population is still growing and now stands at 1,314.9, up on 1,294.8 a week ago.

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said the trajectory of the disease remains “uncertain”.

"The current high incidence of Covid-19 that Ireland is experiencing is driven by the Delta variant, which, coupled with the presence of the Omicron variant, means that the trajectory of the disease remains uncertain," he said.

"Booster vaccinations have been shown to produce very strong antibody responses and are likely to provide protection against severe disease, hospitalisation and death from most variants, including Delta and Omicron, at least in the short term.”

Dr Holohan urged people not to wait until after Christmas to get their Covid-19 booster vaccine as Taoiseach Micheál Martin today warned that half of all people being offered the third jab are not turning up.

However, this also comes amid anecdotal reports of some people being offered multiple appointments, for example by their GP separately by the HSE, which may affect the figures.

"In the over 75 age group, where people have been taking up the offer of a third dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in high numbers, we are seeing significant reductions in the incidence of disease. This is another positive development and further evidence that getting a third dose of Covid-19 vaccine helps to protect from the most severe effects of Covid-19,” Dr Holohan said.

Dr Holohan added that people will begin to see the benefit of the booster shot in terms of protection from the virus within seven days of receiving it. He said it is “vital” that people prioritise their booster appointments.

"Do not wait until after Christmas to receive your booster vaccine, the benefits of receiving your booster dose far outweigh any potential risks that may arise in the meantime. You will begin to receive the benefit of your booster protecting with seven days of receiving your third dose.

“This means that anybody who received their vaccine this week can be confident in the protection the booster will offer them as we move closer to the Christmas period.

"As such, is it vital that all of us prioritise our booster appointments as soon as we receive them or make the time to attend a walk-in vaccination clinic if that option is available,” he said.

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