Coronavirus: Record 26,122 Covid-19 cases reported in State

About 77,000 children registered for Covid-19 vaccines after extension to all those aged 5-11

A record 26,122 confirmed cases of Covid-19 were reported in the State on Saturday.

The Department of Health said as of 8am, 917 people were hospitalised with the virus, down 19 on the same time on Friday. There were 83 people in intensive care units.

From today, all children aged 5 to 11 years will be offered a primary dose of Covid-19 vaccine.

Dr Lucy Jessop, director of public health at the National Immunisation Office, said about 77,000 children are now registered for the vaccine, which equates to 16 per cent of the 480,000 in the cohort.


“I wouldn’t call it vaccine hesitancy,” she told RTÉ radio’s Saturday with Katie Hannon. “I think parents have concerns obviously. They absolutely would like good information on the vaccine. They want to make sure it is safe for children.

“We launched our information campaign a few weeks ago around that to give parents time to look into that information and discuss it, and if they need to discuss it with their trusted healthcare professional.

“So, it is not so much vaccine hesitancy. I think parents are taking their time to consider the information and to decide whether it’s the best decision for their child to be vaccinated.”

Dr Jessop said about 200 children have been hospitalised with Covid over the past two years, while about half those occurred since June. She said 12 of them required intensive care.

“There are some children who unfortunately do need to go to hospital and do need intensive care and of those who were hospitalised, 70 per cent did not have an underlying condition.”

In a joint statement on Friday, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan and chair of the National Immunisation Advisory Council Prof Karina Butler encouraged parents and guardians to bring their children for vaccination.

Vaccination for children in this age group who have underlying health conditions or who live with someone at higher risk from Covid had already begun but the programme now opens to all in this age cohort.

Meanwhile, another five patients who previously tested positive for Covid-19 have died in Northern Ireland. Another 3,458 positive cases of the virus were also notified on Saturday by the North’s Department of Health. Additional reporting: PA

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter