About half of Covid-19 patients in hospital and intensive care are fully vaccinated against the disease, new figures reveal.
One in six deaths of people with the virus since April have been categorised as breakthrough infections of fully vaccinated individuals, The Irish Times reports.
More than one in four intensive care admissions since July were also breakthrough infections of fully vaccinated people, according to HSE data.
Health officials point out that although the majority of Covid-19 cases in hospital now involve vaccinated people, the overall number of hospitalisations is smaller due to the impact of vaccination.
At the end of August, data on vaccination was available for 311 of the 323 Covid-19 patients then in hospital.
54 per cent or 168 patients were fully vaccinated, while 44 per cent were not fully vaccinated and vaccination status was unknown in two per cent of cases.
Of 55 patients in intensive care, 26 were fully vaccinated, two were partly vaccinated, and 26 were unvaccinated. 72 per cent of all patients in ICU since late June had an underlying condition.
Highest in EU
HSE chief clinical officer Dr Colm Henry said the rise in vaccinated patients in hospital “is not a surprise” as more and more people have been vaccinated.
“Vaccines were never going to be 100 per cent effective against infection; their big contribution is in preventing serious illness,” he said.
Although most cases over the summer have been among younger, unvaccinated people, currently 70 per cent of those in hospital are aged over 50.
It comes as Ireland continues to have the highest incidence rate of Covid-19 in the European Union, despite falling case numbers.
Analysis from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) shows a 14-day incidence rate of 434 cases per 100,000 people.
On Thursday 1,292 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed, representing a fall of 253 on the previous day.
331 patients are in hospital with the virus, down four from the day before, with 54 people in intensive care.
The vaccination programme is approaching its seven millionth dose, with 90 per cent of adults expected to be fully vaccinated today.