The HSE’s Chief Clinical Officer has said the rate of Covid-19 cases appears to be ‘growing more slowly than expected’.
However Dr Colm Henry urged caution about attending outdoor gatherings at this stage of the vaccination programme.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Today programme, he said while vaccination uptake has exceeded the HSE’s expectation, there is “still more work to do” to complete the vaccination course of those in their 20s and 30s in particular.
“We are now within shouting distance of the end of the vaccine programme, that has had an extraordinary reach, it has gone through all age groups eligible for the vaccine. I would ask people whatever the regulations are, whatever the policy changes, is to just take care and make sure that you don’t let yourself be part of some gathering that can be an agent for transmission.”
He said he would be “cautious about attending an outdoor gathering”.
“I would be more confident in a few weeks’ time when we see the vaccine programme reach through more of our younger population.
“There is still more work to do to complete the vaccination course for the 20s and 30s. I would like to see more completion of vaccination because we know with the Delta variant that the completed vaccination course affords great protection, whereas partial vaccination does not.”
Dr Henry said vaccination of 12 to 15-year-olds will begin the week after registration opens on Thursday 12 August.
He said vaccination centres, walk-in centres, GPs and pharmacies will be used to administer vaccines.
He said 39% of 16 to 17-year-olds have received dose one, while 61% of this age group have registered.
The number of cases are “oscillating between 1,200 to 1,400 cases per day, and while he said this is a high number, “it is not as high as we feared,” Dr Henry added.
He said the level of hospitalisations and ICU admissions are “rising steadily, but it is not huge.”
The link between cases and the harm caused by the virus is “weakened but not broken” as a result of vaccination, Dr Henry reiterated.
He said In the number of people who were admitted to ICU for Covid-19, between 1 April and 29 July, 78% were unvaccinated.
Dr Henry said of the 31 people in ICU for Covid-19 at that time, who are partly vaccinated, 87% have an underlying condition.