There have been nine further deaths related to Covid-19, it has been confirmed this evening.Of these deaths, seven occurred this month with two deaths occurring in February.The youngest person to have lost their life with the virus was 64 and the oldest was 95 years old.
Nphet has also confirmed an additional 525 cases of the coronavirus bringing the total number of cases in the Republic to 229,831.
Of today’s confirmed cases, the largest number are located in Dublin with the capital accounting for 266 Covid-19 cases. There are 33 confirmed cases in Meath, 29 in Wexford, 25 in Offaly and 24 in Donegal.
The remaining 148 cases are spread across 19 other counties. Kerry and Leitrim had no new confirmed cases today.
County Offaly has the highest 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 at more than double the national rate.
The incidence rate for Ireland stands at 150.2 while the rate for Offaly is currently 388.7. The county has recorded 303 new cases in the two-week period to March 19.
As of 8am this morning, there are 328 Covid-19 patients in hospitals around the country, of which 83 are in ICU. There have been 27 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.
AstraZeneca rollout resumes 
According to the latest vaccination data, 639,586 doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered up to March 17.
As of St Patrick’s Day, 468,328 people have received their first dose while 171,258 have received their second.
The head of the HSE says people will not be given the option of another Covid-19 vaccine if they refuse to take the one that is offered to them.
It comes as the rollout of the AstraZeneca jab resumed earlier, following a week-long suspension due to concerns it caused blood clots.
A review by Europe’s medicines regulator has since found it to be safe and effective.
The 30,000 high-risk patients impacted by the suspension will now be worked through over the coming week.
Over the course of the weekend, HSE chief Paul Reid said 3,700 over-75s will receive either first or second doses in the Helix vaccination centre in Dublin Mr Reid also said people should take the vaccine they are offered.
“The greatest known risk that we are all living through and have lived through for the last year is Covid-19. That is the risk that has demonstrated high mortality rates, high sickness rates, high hospitalisation rates,” said Mr Reid.
“We all need to protect ourselves against that and the best way to protect ourselves against that is take the first vaccine that is available. They are all proven to be safe and all proven to be effective.”
Kidney patient Kieran Murray was among the “small number” of high-risk people who received the AstraZeneca vaccine at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin earlier.
He says he was not put off getting the jab despite the recent decision to suspend its rollout.
“What happened during the week with it being postponed and stuff, I can see people’s point being a bit wary of it,” said Mr Murry, “but to me, you do tests, that’s science.
“It happens every day. Even medication that you take for different things, it has to go through that process anyway.
“There are more benefits from it than negatives.”
Dr Mary Favier, former president of the Irish College of GPs and member of NPHET, says people should be aware of the symptoms of blood clotting.
“If for instance somebody had symptoms more than three days after their vaccination, of just feeling unwell or a persistent headache or bruising or not feeling right, they should contact their GP,” said Dr Favier.
“But if you are offered an AstraZeneca vaccine, I think you should absolutely take it. I would recommend it to any member of my family because the risk of Covid is much more important. It’s much more there in our faces every day.”