Seasonal Flu Vaccine Uptake Encouraged
The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, the Chief Nursing Officer, Rachel Kenna and the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Breda Smyth have encouraged everyone to get their flu vaccine this winter season. Minister Donnelly, Ms Kenna and Prof Smyth were speaking as they each received their vaccines on Tuesday.
Since the HSE launched the seasonal flu vaccine programme in early October, over 600,000 vaccines have been administered.
Minister Donnelly said, “I warmly welcome the positive uptake of ‘flu vaccine we have seen since the HSE launched the programme earlier this month. We know that vaccines offer good protection from both COVID-19 and seasonal ‘flu, and I urge everyone eligible to avail of this opportunity as soon as possible. The vaccine is also available free of charge to healthcare workers. It is really important that our healthcare workers take every step possible in order to protect themselves from viruses like ‘flu this winter.”
Ms Kenna said, “the vaccine is available from October to April each year. It is a safe and effective vaccine that helps to protect from ‘flu. The best time to get the vaccine is before the ‘flu season starts. The children’s vaccine is administered as a nasal spray and is available free for all children aged 2 to 17 from GPs and Pharmacies. I would encourage anyone who has yet to avail of a vaccine to book an appointment for you and for your child soon as possible.”
Prof Smyth said, “flu and COVID-19 vaccines are available from participating GPs and pharmacies and can be given at the same time. Vaccines, along with our continued adherence to the public health advice, remain the best protection we have from all respiratory illnesses this winter. Remember to practice good hand and respiratory hygiene, keep windows open, wear a mask when appropriate and self-isolate if you have symptoms of COVID-19.”
If you are in a recommended group, it is important to arrange to get your free ‘flu vaccine now. This includes people who are:
- Aged 65 years and older
- Aged 2 to 17 years (can get a nasal spray flu vaccine)
- A healthcare worker
- Living in a nursing home or other long-term care facility
- Have a certain underlying health condition
If you are not eligible for a free vaccine, you can arrange to receive your vaccine from your local participating pharmacy or GP. Go to hse.ie/flu to find a local pharmacy offering the flu vaccine.