There are now eight hospitals with zero COVID patients, according to HSE chief Paul Reid.
Last night, there were 59 coronavirus patients in Irish hospitals with 23 in intensive care.
It is the lowest number of patients in hospital since September 13th and the lowest number in intensive care since St Stephen’s Day.
On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, HSE chief executive Paul Reid said the benefits of the vaccine programme are clear to see.
“When you stand back from it all, just look at the benefits we are seeing across the board in Ireland from the vaccination programme,” he said.
“Significantly reduced hospitalisations – 59 this morning people COVID-positive in hospital; 23 people in ICU.
“We are hugely strengthening our herd immunity through the population. The society and economy is opening further, which is good for the health system.
“Public mood is up really good so we are seeing strong benefits from all of the vaccination programme across the board so I understand people saying it is taking too long but the vaccines all across the board are working strongly for us here in Ireland.”
He noted that 3.1 million vaccine doses have now been administered in Ireland with 2.2 million people having received their first does.
Just over one-quarter of the adult population is now fully vaccinated.
Mr Reid said the rollout remains highly efficient – even if some people are left queuing when they arrive for their appointments.
He said the mass vaccination centre in the Helix in Dublin is dealing with “significant volumes” of people – sometime sup to 7,000 in a day.
New centres will soon be opened to ease the pressure on those already in place with a new 30-booth facility due to open at UCD in the coming days.
Mr Reid said it is a “bit unfortunate” that the debate around rapid antigen testing has become “very polarised.”
The Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has been called before an Oireachtas committee to explain NPHET’s opposition to the use of the testing for international travel.
Dr Holohan is among those who have refused to back the widespread use of antigen testing despite a Government report that came out in favour of the strategy.
“Look I think in fairness to NPHET, their advice throughout the pandemic has been strong, consistent and has got Ireland into a very strong position in our defence against COVID,” he said.
“So, I think we just have to take that in context as well – to be fair, I think their advice has been quite solid, quite well-informed, quite evidence based and they have given good advice to the Government and indeed to the HSE.
“But certainly, the debate does seem to be polarised.”
He said the HSE was ready to support and advise any industry on the use of antigen over the coming months.
"They are part of the solution and I know throughout COVID everybody is looking for a silver bullet," he said.
"We see them as part of the solution but the one thing I would say is, here in Ireland, we have really strong capacity on PCR ... and a very quick turnaround on it.
"So we will use antigen in some cases but we also have PCR as well."