There are no plans to move pregnant women up the vaccine priority list despite reports linking the coronavirus to stillbirths.
Health officials have received preliminary reports of four stillbirths where the virus may have been a factor.
The Deputy Chief Medical Officer said the link has yet to be confirmed and noted that there is no reason for pregnant women to change their behaviour.
“We have been made aware, through various coroners, of four reports of stillbirths possibly linked with a condition called COVID placentitis, which is effectively an infection of the placenta leading to stillbirth,” he said.
“These reports are preliminary and the coroners have not concluded their findings.”
"Very rare condition"
He said pregnant women do not need to change their behaviour following the reports.
“Yes, of course it is a concern but we know from international data that this is a very rare condition,” he said.
“What I would say again to women is that this doesn’t change what you have to do if you are pregnant.
“Ultimately, COVID does pose a potential risk to all of us so it is not that individual women need to do anything different over and above what they have been doing.”
Advice for women
He defended the decision to announce the reports before the full details have become available – and said officials will wait for more information before changing any health advice.
“As we do with all our data, we are transparent, we make it public as soon as we are aware of it,” he said.
“That has consequences in and of itself, we know that but we have to follow through on the approach we have taken over the past year but we have to wait for the full data to come through.
“As I say, internationally, this a very rare condition and I think, we will need to wait for the full details from the coroners before we can conclude further on that.”
It comes after 462 new cases were confirmed alongside 39 further deaths.
The Chair of the NPHET COVID-19 Modelling Group Professor Philip Nolan said the number of new cases dropped by almost 20% last week.
“Collectively we have managed to continue to supress transmission of the virus and continue to push the disease down,” he said.
“That is confirmed when we look at the week-on-week reduction in case numbers so last week, compared with the previous week, down 18% - that is a very strong indicator that we continue to go in the right direction.”
Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 patients in Irish hospitals has fallen to its lowest level since December 29th.
There were 427 virus patients in hospital with 107 people in intensive care with their symptoms last night.