The chief medical officer has warned of a surge in flu cases ahead of Christmas.
Professor Breda Smith said flu cases are up 80 per cent in the past week, while Covid infections have also increased rapidly over the last three days.
In a message posted on social media, she appealed to parents to consider getting the free nasal flu vaccine for their children.
#flu and #COVID19 cases and hospitalisations have increased. Please come forward for your #fluvaccine and #CovidVaccines. Please stay home if you have any 'flu like symptoms. pic.twitter.com/ianCv4UGv6
— Chief Medical Officer (@CMOIreland) December 17, 2022
Prof Smyth also urged people to stay at home if they have any flu-like symptoms to prevent the onward spread of winter viruses.
She said: "With Christmas just one week away, we are reporting a significant surge in flu cases, up 80 per cent on last week's numbers. We have a number of patients in ICU with flu this week, and unfortunately, none of them had have had their flu vaccine.
"This year's flu season seems to be having a severe impact on children in particular. In Australia 60 per cent of hospitalisations were among children. Flu is also causing a huge spike in child hospitalisations in Canada.
"Covid cases have increased rapidly in the last three days. Test positivity is now almost one in five. On average, we are now seeing 75 new hospitalisations per day with Covid."
She added: "We all know that vaccination saves lives. It decreases the chances of being infected and reduces the risk of severe illness from Covid-19 and flu. So please come forward and get yours."