A further 1,725 cases of Covid-19 have been reported in the State on Sunday.
There were 473 people in hospital with the virus as of this morning, with 97 of those in intensive care (ICU).
Paul Reid, chief executive of the HSE, has said it is encouraging to see more and more people come forward for Covid-19 vaccination, with 10,750 doses administered across the vaccination centres alone over the past four days.
He said on Sunday that 5,000 of these were done through walk-ins and “significantly from younger ages.” Mr Reid said there are over 2,000 people per day registering for a vaccine.
Eilish Hardiman, chief executive of Children's Health Ireland (CHI) which governs the children's hospitals in Dublin, said it has been "a very challenging fortnight".
“In particular we’ve seen a significant increase in the attendances to our emergency departments at Temple Street, Crumlin and Tallaght and our urgent centre at Connolly.
"Normally we would see between 450 to 500 children a day. For example, last Monday we had 750 children attend our services," Ms Hardiman told RTÉ Radio's News at One on Sunday.
“The reason for this is related to the annual flu virus event, known as RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), that affects children and babies and there are also obviously some other flus and viruses around.”
Ms Hardiman said 50 babies and children have been admitted to the children’s hospitals requiring high flow oxygen to treat the RSV. She said normally children would be in for 24-48 hours with the RSV and other viruses but this year they are having to stay in for 4 to 5 days.
“We have more attending and they are staying in longer, which has meant hospital beds are at full capacity which means we have children waiting in trolleys in emergency departments,” she said.
Ms Hardiman said there are 32 critical care beds available between Temple Street and Crumlin children’s hospitals. She said the hospitals were at “100 per cent capacity” this week but that there were ICU beds available on Sunday as five patients had been discharged.
Ms Hardiman also said there is “some surge capacity” within the hospitals which would be activated if there was an emergency.
She said she would be supportive of staff getting a Covid-19 booster vaccine adding that some patient-facing staff had received their first dose last January.
“We are going to have a long hard winter and we do need to try and support our staff as much as possible,” she said.
“Booster vaccine would be an important armory in trying to make sure we survive.”
Meanwhile, the country needs to be "on top of booster vaccines" and the programme should be "easy and quick" for people, Professor Jack Lambert, professor of medicine and infectious diseases at the Mater and UCD School of Medicine has said.
Prof Lambert said nursing home residents, the immunocompromised and healthcare workers should all receive Covid-19 booster vaccinations.
“We need to be on top of booster vaccines and make it easy and make it quick and we’ve done nothing easy and we’ve done nothing quick in this country with any of the Covid strategies that we’ve undertaken over the last 19 months,” he told RTÉ Radio’s Brendan O’Connor show on Sunday.
He said vaccination “helps tremendously” against the disease but that it is not eliminating Covid, adding “we’ve known this for months”.
Prof Lambert also said that it is important to keep schools open safely and that children shouldn’t wear masks in the classroom at primary level, but advised they should in certain situations such as using public transport, car pooling and going to the bathroom in school.
He said he believed Covid-19 numbers will “of course” rise over the coming weeks as further restrictions were loosened on Friday.
“Even if Covid numbers do go up, lockdown is not a solution as far as I’m concerned,” he said. “Having ICU beds that are under resourced in Ireland for the last 10 years, that’s not an excuse for lockdown. It’s a good reason for us to do everything right and really emphasise that to the Irish public.”
Prof Lambert said that nightclubs should have opened up in July and August and been “prepared appropriately for it, not waited until October and November when winter is coming with all the other respiratory illnesses”.
“I think we should open up, but open up safely with all of the Covid mitigating strategies that are part of that - washing hands, the Covid vaccine pass, masks in appropriate situations,” he added.
In Northern Ireland, five further deaths of patients who had previously tested positive for Covid-19 have been reported in Northern Ireland. The region’s Department of Health has also reported another 1,061 cases of the virus. To date, 2,614,760 vaccines have been administered.