There have been strong calls for Irish frontline healthcare workers to received booster vaccines immediately.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation said the workers should be prioritised in the battle against the virus.
The organisation has written to the Chief Medical Officer and the Chair of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) calling for “an immediate decision” to be made.
They said it was “clear the booster is necessary” given the rise in infections in healthcare workers and the increase in staff on virus-related leave.
Speaking on RTÉ’s This Week, Phil Ní Sheaghdha said: “The healthcare worker infection rate has increased and that means more absence in an already staffing-compromised situation, so the last thing we need is staff themselves becoming unwell.
“We know that the vaccinations wane after six months and we know that the majority of healthcare workers got the AstraZeneca vaccine, so it’s becoming very clear to us that they now need a booster.”
Ms Ní Sheaghdha said 370 nurses were infected with the virus in the last fortnight alone and she said “delay in this matter will cause additional pressure” on acute hospitals.
The call comes as the Department of Health reported 1,725 new cases of Covid-19.