The Department of Health has been notified of a further 1,903 confirmed cases of Covid-19.

The number of people in hospital with the virus stands at 219, up 13 on yesterday, of whom 37 are in ICU, up one.

In a statement this evening, Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said that Ireland's vaccination programme is "currently preventing at least 2,700 cases per week per million population".

"We know that vaccines work. They are about 80% effective at preventing symptomatic Covid-19 disease and they provide approximately 95% protection against hospitalisation. This protection against severe disease holds up even in the context of the Delta variant," he said.

He added: "The Covid-19 vaccination programme has shown not only the best of scientific and medical endeavour, but also commendable solidarity by those who have come forward to receive a vaccine for the good of themselves and their wider community.

"While uptake has been fantastic, there are some who have not yet taken the opportunity to get protected through vaccination. For those who remain unsure, have questions or concerns, please access trusted sources of information like your GP or pharmacist"

Read more:
Latest Covid-19 stories

Figures show there have been 169 Covid-19 deaths since the beginning of April, of which more than half occurred during that month.

Over half of these deaths, 94, occurred in April. Thirty-seven people died with Covid-19 in May.

Fourteen people died with Covid-19 in June, and there were 16 Covid-19 deaths in July.

So far in August, eight people who had Covid-19 have died.

Since the middle of May, there has been a difficulty in regularly reporting figures for Covid-19 deaths due to the cyber attack on the HSE's IT systems.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn said seven people who were fully vaccinated had died with the virus, adding that some of these would have had underlying conditions.

Speaking on RTÉ's News At One programme, Dr Glynn said Covid-19 is now a "preventable illness" and the risk of ending up seriously unwell for most people is now preventable through vaccination.

He praised as "phenomenal" the uptake levels for vaccination in Ireland and said "we have to be confident that we will see the benefit of that in the weeks and months to come".

"Ultimately we want as many people as possible across all age groups to get vaccinated," he added.

Dr Glynn said that the fact some people who are contracting Covid-19 are fully vaccinated does not mean vaccines do not work.

He explained that while a significant proportion of people hospitalised with the virus are vaccinated, their length of stay is shorter, and they do not end up in critical care.

He said that no vaccine is 100% effective, so cases will emerge in vaccinated people, but that "the key element is to remember is that they prevent symptomatic illness, serious disease and death".

He said that "this does not mean vaccines are not working or not effective" and that as more and more people are vaccinated it is to be expected that a percentage of those infected will be vaccinated people.

Dr Glynn compared it to the road safety analogy, where many who die on the roads were wearing safety belts yet this does not mean they do not work.

He said the vaccines are 80% to 85% against symptomatic disease and 95% effective against hospitalisation.

Dr Glynn said that the country has not reached a situation where hospitals are not under pressure from the virus as the trajectory of the disease is still increasing significantly.

There are still 1,700 cases on average each day with 219 people currently in hospital, he said, adding that there have been 27 people on average admitted every day in the last week, 41 of whom in the last 24 hours.

He also said that in Northern Ireland a significant amount of people are also in hospital with the virus.

He said that at any other point of the pandemic with this level of disease incidence and caseload resulted in very significant parts of society being shut down but because of vaccination it has been possible to keep much of society open.

However, he said "this does not mean we are out of the woods".

He warned that it is likely to be a difficult autumn and winter ahead, given likely re-emergence of influenza.

Dr Glynn also said that he is confident schools will return safely next month.

"We have shown we can operate schools in safe way and have a vast array of experience over the last year," he said, adding "we want our children to get back to normality ... they have really suffered over the last year".

He said the issue of masks and social distancing will be reviewed by NPHET in the weeks to come.

He also sought to reassure pregnant women, who are disproportionately affected by the virus, to avail of vaccines between weeks 14 and 26, adding that they should seek reputable information if concerned.

Dr Glynn said those with one dose of vaccine should be sure to get their second vaccine.

He said that the uptake of vaccines among younger people is being monitored and "everything bar the disease itself is going in the right direction".

He said that NPHET will advise government in coming weeks of the return to workplaces and said "we have to be confident" it will happen in the coming months.

He said mask wearing will continue to be a feature in healthcare settings through the winter.

Dr Glynn said there are strong arguments that people should wear masks in particular settings moving forward, but it may become a personal choice for people in the future.