Health Service Executive Director General Paul Reid said contacting the families of healthcare workers who died from COVID was the most difficult thing he has experienced in his career.
Mr Reid stressed the importance of keeping healthcare workers safe in the coming months as the COVID-19 situation continues to worsen in Irish hospitals.
Hospital figures on Thursday morning confirm that there are currently 487 people hospitalized with the virus, while 101 people are in intensive care.
As cases in hospitals increase, the risk of infection transmitted to healthcare workers treating these patients is also increasing, which is clear as more than 1,800 healthcare workers across healthcare facilities are currently ill.
Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, Mr Reid said: “We have seen the number of healthcare workers right now – it’s 1,800. We have seen just over 6,000 at the peak in January. and no one wants to approach it again.
“We are also seeing a second impact, which is healthcare associated COVID infections in our hospital system and they are also increasing.”
Addressing the issue of deaths among healthcare workers, Mr Reid said he was in favor of administering vaccine boosters to healthcare workers for added protection, but the decision on this is not his decision.
He continued, “I take my responsibility very seriously. One of the most difficult things I have done in my career so far in all of the industries I have worked in is having to make contact with loved ones. of healthcare workers who have died from COVID.
“I take my duty of care very responsibly. I must clarify that with the medical experts who make the decision on the recalls and the timing of the recall campaigns, there is the National Advisory Committee on Immunization and I am waiting for this recommendation and, in fact, a political decision from the government. .
“What I am advocating very strongly is protecting our healthcare workers – and I would love to see them receive this reminder.
“I said this in public, but at the end of the day our medical experts are NIAC.”