Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan says it’s not a guarantee that COVID-19 vaccine booster shots will be rolled out to the general population.
The Taoiseach has said rolling out the doses outside of vulnerable groups will be a “very important” part of the COVID-19 response.
It was confirmed yesterday that booster shots will be given to everyone aged over 60.
Some ministers have voiced surprise that boosters have yet to be recommended for healthcare workers, while it's also unclear whether there'll be a population-wide booster campaign.
Dr Tony Holohan says this will depend on the evidence around the jabs.
He noted: "[Officials] will continue to assess the evidence in relation to people - in particular sub-categories of the population who are at particular risk, under the age of 60 - and advise accordingly.
"It's not inevitable that it will end up as a recommendation that everyone in the adult population will be recommended to have a booster."
Spike in cases
Dr Holohan also says the recent spike in COVID-19 cases will be followed by a rise in deaths.
63 patients have died in the past week.
2,148 new COVID-19 cases were reported today, and the average number of daily cases has jumped significantly during October.
Officials believe more people socialising since September while being slightly less careful has contributed to the rise in cases.
The Chief Medical Officer today said the trend is concerning.
He said: "We expect and anticipate a rise in the number of deaths reported, as a result of the impact of that change in transmission.
"There's no question that we have seen a drop in our collective adherence to the measures - some of that relating to anticipatory behaviour that might have happened over the last number of weeks, as people began to expect and anticipate an easing of restrictions."
Dr Holohan noted NPHET may have to consider “further measures” if COVID-19 cases continue to rise and the extra precautions in place for the next stage of reopening don't work.
However, he said they "remain optimistic" that can be avoided if people adhere to the basic public health measures - such as mask-wearing - that have been in place throughout the last 18 months.