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Chief Medical Officer and Chief Nursing Officer Encourage Flu and COVID-19 Vaccines Uptake

The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Professor Breda Smyth and Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) Rachel Kenna have encouraged everyone who is eligible to get their flu and COVID-19 vaccines this winter season.

The 2023/2024 influenza campaign began earlier this month for both adults and children. The seasonal vaccination programme will offer the following vaccines:

  • A ‘flu vaccine in the form of a nasal spray for those aged 2-12 years.
  • An injectable ‘flu vaccine for all other eligible groups.

A COVID booster is also available for those aged 50 and over, and certain other categories including those who are immunocompromised.

There has been strong uptake for both vaccines to date, and the CMO and CNO are now reminding everyone to take the opportunity to boost their protection before the respiratory virus season reaches its peak.

The two vaccines can be administered at the same time and are available through participating GPs and pharmacies, and in healthcare settings for healthcare workers.

The children’s nasal spray ‘flu vaccine is also available to some primary school children in the school setting.

CMO Professor Breda Smyth said, “vaccines are safe and effective, and along with good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, they’re the best way to protect ourselves from the respiratory illnesses circulating this winter. It is very important that all those who are invited, get both their free ‘flu and COVID-19 booster vaccines.”

“As the two vaccines can be administered at the same time, it’s a quick and easy way for people to protect their health, as well as protecting those around them. Young children in particular are more likely to be very sick from ‘flu, so I am asking parents to please consider getting your child vaccinated. The ‘flu vaccine for children is a nasal spray and is administered quickly and painlessly.”

CNO Rachel Kenna added, “I am encouraging everyone who is eligible to please make an appointment to receive your ‘flu jab and COVID-19 booster to help minimise the risk of serious illness. I would particularly encourage my nursing and midwifery colleagues as well as all health and social care professionals and medical colleagues to take the opportunity to get vaccinated to protect themselves and vulnerable patients. Walk-in vaccination clinics for healthcare workers are operating around the country.”


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