More than 1.2 million people who are eligible for a first Covid-19 booster vaccine shot have yet to avail of the jab.
nd more than 390,000 people offered a second booster – those aged over 65 and people who are immunocompromised – have still not turned up to get their injection.
The growing indifference around Covid-19 vaccines comes as Ireland faces a summer Covid-19 wave with cases rising due to more socialising and the arrival of the BA.4 and BA.5 variants of concern which are easier to catch.
It signals a Covid-19 jab fatigue among people here despite the high response to vaccines last year.
Although a proportion may still be waiting to get their first or second booster jab due to getting Covid-19, there is growing concern over apathy among the population about the need to get the extra
jab as protection from severe disease should they contract the virus.
The HSE said 3.92 million people were entitled to a first booster shot but 1.2 million had not yet taken it up.
Of the 780,000 eligible for a second booster, some 397,000 had yet to avail of the jab in the past week.
It comes as the new variants of concern, combined with more socialising and a reduction in the wearing of face masks, continue to drive up cases – with 26.1pc of people going for a PCR test in the last seven days finding out they have the virus .
There were 459 patients with Covid-19 in hospital yesterday morning – the highest since the end of April – with around half found to have the virus but treated for other illnesses.
However, the number of Covid-19 positive patients in intensive care remains stable with 23 recorded yesterday.
Meanwhile, the HSE confirmed it has received supplies of the smallpox vaccine as a protection against the monkeypox virus.
So far nine cases of monkeypox have been confirmed here in men aged 30 to 50.
The smallpox vaccine can reduce the risk of getting monkeypox and can be given to close contacts of infected cases as well as health staff involved in caring for someone who has the virus.
The World Health Organisation said it is working with experts to come up with a new name for monkeypox.
More than 30 scientists wrote last week about the “urgent need for a non-discriminatory and non-stigmatising” name for the virus and the disease it causes.
Around 1,600 cases of the disease have been recorded globally in recent weeks.
While 72 deaths have been reported in countries where monkeypox was already endemic, none have been seen in the 32 newly affected countries, which include Ireland the UK.
More than 2,280 cases have been confirmed in countries where it was not usual or not previously reported.
The expectation is that there will be more cases as the summer progresses with festivals and other events being held.