The Health Service Executive is linking up with dating platforms to promote the roll out of the vaccination programme.

The association will involve dating brands such as Tinder, Match, OKCupid, Hinge and Plenty of Fish.

The HSE said the aim is to encourage users of these dating apps to support and receive their Covid-19 vaccine when it is offered to them.

From this week, they will add new features to their apps and websites, including free "super likes" to support the 'For Us All’ campaign.

These features will run throughout the month of July.

HSE Chief Executive Paul Reid said it was a great way to bring the campaign to a wide audience.

"The vaccination programme is a really important tool in our battle against Covid-19, and we've seen incredible support for the programme among the Irish people since we started," he added.

The HSE said that showing vaccination status on these platforms is voluntary and users are free to decide whether they disclose their vaccination status or preferences.

It also said the partnership is being provided at no cost to the health service.

The latest figures from the HSE show there are now 80 people in hospital with Covid-19, an increase of seven on the figure yesterday.

Of these, 22 are in ICU, an increase of two on yesterday.

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mRNA vaccine registration for 25-29 age group from tomorrow

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has announced that 25-29 year olds can register for an mRNA vaccine from tomorrow.

Those aged 18-34 can already register with a pharmacy for a Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) jab.

Meanwhile, a specialist in infectious diseases has said she agrees with Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan who advised parents that it is safer not to bring children into indoor dining settings.

Dr Clíona Ní Cheallaigh, a physician at St James's Hospital in Dublin, said that while most children do not become severely ill with the coronavirus, some can get very sick and suffer long Covid.

She said that consideration needs to be given now to making schools as safe as possible, including significant improvement to ventilation and installing carbon dioxide monitors.

Dr Ní Cheallaigh told RTÉ's Morning Ireland that much higher rates of infection in children can be expected as a result of the Delta variant of Covid-19.

She said that a proposal to extend vaccines to under 18s is a "really sensible measure" and vaccinating children will have to be considered in order to eliminate the spread of the disease in the community.

Dr Ní Cheallaigh also said that consideration should be given to the wearing of face coverings by children in primary schools.


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Digital Covid Certificate

The HSE said today that the EU Digital Covid Certificate being issued to those who've been vaccinated can now be stored on the Covid Tracker App.

The digital cert will be used as proof of vaccination to travel to other countries in the EU, once foreign travel is permitted again from 19 July.

The new feature on the app will allow people to carry their Digital Covid Certificate securely on their phones.

For those already with the app on their phone, they must update to the latest version. They can then follow the instructions in the app to scan the QR code on the certificate.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said: "This is a great development, and one that will support the continued reopening of our society."