Covid Ireland: 1,292 more cases confirmed by NPHET with 331 patients now in hospital
There have been 1,292 further cases of Covid-19 confirmed in Ireland this evening by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).
The Department of Health says there are now 331 people in hospital, with 54 of those in ICU.
The figures mark a decrease on Wednesday's hospital numbers when 335 patients were being treated for the virus, of which 56 were in ICU.
It comes as further changes to Ireland's vaccination programme have been announced in recent days.
Following recommendations from NIAC, pregnant women will now be offered an mRNA vaccine.
The HSE is encouraging women at all stages of their pregnancy to take up the Covid-19 jab when it is offered, following a discussion with their midwife, GP or obstetrician.
Following this consultation, women can attend for a vaccine at a walk-in vaccination centre at various locations across the country.
The majority of maternity hospitals/units are also having the vaccine discussion with women at their booking visit (12 to 14 weeks gestation).
Speaking about the changes, Dr Peter McKenna, National Clinical Director of the HSE National Women & Infants Health Programme, said: “Evidence shows Covid-19 vaccines are safe and we now have a lot of experience of vaccination in pregnancy."
“We are recommending women, who are pregnant, trying for a baby or might get pregnant in the future get a Covid-19 vaccine. It is important that pregnant women protect themselves from the Covid-19 virus. We are encouraging women to take up this opportunity to avail of the vaccination and protect both themselves and their babies from getting unwell.”
Meanwhile, Ireland will give Covid-19 vaccine booster shots to elderly people who were fully vaccinated at least six months ago.
On Wednesday, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) had recommended that booster vaccines be provided to residents of nursing or care homes aged 65 and over, as well as anyone aged over 80.
NIAC has said that everyone eligible for a jab will receive an mRNA vaccine.