Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said there does not seem to be the “same urgency” in people availing Covid-19 booster shots as there was for the first and second doses of the vaccine.
Mr Martin said that in the week commencing November 22nd, there were 208,000 appointments for booster shots offered but only 80,000 people turned up for them.
He said last week 180,000 appointments were issued but only 93,000 turned up.
The latest figures released by the Department of Health on Tuesday showed there were 5,590 new cases of Covid-19 with 505 patients in hospital of whom 117 are in ICU.
Speaking in the Dáil on Tuesday, Mr Martin said in the over-75 age group, who have been taking up the booster shot, there has been a “significant reduction in the incidence of the disease”.
He said the data showed the booster shot “does work” and believed it will have a significant impact on the Delta variant. “I can’t stress that enough,” he said.
“The most important collective message we as a house can give to people today is to take your booster vaccine when you’re offered it,” Mr Martin added.
“Vaccination is protecting people more than anything else against severe illness, against hospitalisation and against admission to ICUs.
“The booster vaccination have been shown to produce very, very strong antibody responses and are likely to provide protection against severe disease, hospitalisation and death from most variants, including Delta and Omicron at least.”
The latest figures show that more than a million booster dose vaccines, 1,005,656, had been administered up until Monday.
Meanwhile, a number of Covid-19 vaccination and testing centres across the Republic have been forced to close on Tuesday as Storm Barra buffeted most of the Republic with high winds and heavy rain.
Damien McCallion, the HSE’s national lead for the vaccination programme has urged the public not to travel to any medical appointments without first checking ahead.
Information will be updated "constantly" on hse.ie/stormbarra he told RTÉ Radio's Morning Ireland.
Mr McCallion also advised that ambulance services may be slower today as a result of the storm. He asked the public to “think carefully” before making an emergency call.
Hospitals in orange and yellow zones will operate time critical treatments and emergency work while community services will be closed.
Covid-19 testing and vaccination centres will be closed in status red areas and cancelled appointments will be rescheduled as quickly as possible, he said. In orange and yellow zones, local assessments were being undertaken in some sites - including tented sites and those in high locations.
As of Tuesday morning and according to the HSE’s latest information, Covid-related services impacted due to Storm Barra include:
In Co Clare the vaccination centre at Ennis Hospital is closed, as well as the Covid test centres.
All Covid-19 testing centres and vaccination centres are closed in Co Cork.
In Dublin the Pfizer dose 1 and dose 2 walk-in clinics at Dublin City University, Whitehall, north Dublin, are closed.
The Covid-19 vaccination centre at Galway Racecourse is closed.
In Co Kerry, all Covid-19 testing centres are closed along with all vaccination centres.
The Covid-19 vaccination centre in the Carrick-on-Shannon primary care unit, Co Leitrim, is closed.
In Co Limerick, all Covid-19 testing centres are closed.
Co Mayo's Covid-19 vaccination centre at Breaffy House Resort, Castlebar, is closed.
In Co Meath the Covid-19 vaccination centre in Simonstown is closed.
Co Sligo’s vaccination centre at Sligo Racecourse is closed.
In Co Tipperary, Storm Barra has forced the closure if the Covid-19 testing centre in Nenagh.
Further updates for other counties and facilities were expected through the day on Tuesday.