Eight further coronavirus deaths and 1,031 new cases have been recorded in Northern Ireland during the past 24 hours.

There are 245 confirmed Covid patients in hospital, with 41 in ICU, 34 of whom are on ventilators.

The seven-day incidence rate per 100,000 is 473.9.

The council area with the highest rate is Mid Ulster on 599.9, while the lowest is Mid and East Antrim on 334.6.

A total of 2,284,540 vaccine doses have been administered, with 1,062,797 people now fully vaccinated after receiving two jabs.

Peter Berne, Belfast, was one of thousands of people that received a vaccine this week in NI

Northern Ireland's Chief Scientific Adviser has said the benefits of Covid-19 vaccination are "clear and indisputable."

"Back in December last year, for every 1,000 cases of Covid-19 in NI, around 80 were admitted to hospital here," Professor Ian Young said in a statement.

"Now it's in the region of 22 hospitalisations per 1,000 cases. That's a dramatic reduction.

"Clearly, the vaccination programme has made a significant difference. Its benefits are indisputable."

Professor Ian Young said the benefits of Covid-19 vaccination are 'clear and indisputable'

A range of initiatives to increase vaccine take-up are continuing, including an extensive programme of walk-in localised vaccination clinics around Northern Ireland.

Professor Young said the first dose take-up rate for the 18 plus adult population is now around 85%.

Stormont's Department of Health today published an online Covid-19 factfile, which it said brings together already published materials "debunking anti-vaccination myths."

"I have seen some people questioning the effectiveness of vaccines because the virus is still circulating and some vaccinated people are still getting it. This argument is entirely misplaced," Professor Young added.

"The truth is that while vaccination does not entirely eradicate the Covid risk, it reduces it substantially. It cuts your risk of getting seriously ill or dying from the virus by around 95% and it reduces your risk of catching or spreading it.

"Getting jabbed makes it less likely you will get infected. And if you still do, it will be less likely that you get seriously ill with the virus, or will pass it on to others."