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2013/2014 Seasonal flu Vaccination Campaign

 

Based on advice from the World Health Organisation (WHO) ,this year the seasonal flu vaccine contains three common flu virus strains.

Who should get the vaccine this year?

Why are pregnant women included?

I am in one of the at risk groups so how do I get vaccinated?

Why get a flu vaccine?

Signs of Symptoms of Influenza

 

Who should get the vaccine this year?

Vaccination is strongly recommended for - 

  • Persons aged 65 and over,
  • Those with a long-term medical condition such as diabetes, heart or lung disease,
  • People whose immune system is impaired due to disease or treatment,
  • Persons with a body mass index (BMI) over 40,
  • Pregnant women (can be given at any stage of pregnancy),
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long stay institutions,
  • Healthcare workers,
  • Carers,
  • People with regular close contact with poultry, water fowl or pigs

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Why are pregnant women included?

Pregnant women should get the seasonal flu vaccination to protect themselves and their baby.  

This year’s seasonal flu vaccine can be given at any stage of pregnancy and will also protect the baby.  In the US flu vaccine has been routinely recommended for all pregnant women for many years.  The annual flu vaccine does not contain aluminium (adjuvant) or thiomersal, (a mercury based preservative). There are no safety concerns of administering the seasonal flu vaccine. Seasonal flu vaccines have been given for more than 60 years to millions of people across the world. Reactions are generally mild and serious side effects are very rare.

I am in one of the at risk groups so how do I get vaccinated?

If you have a ‘Medical Card’ or ‘GP Visit Card’ the vaccine and consultation are free.

If you do not have a ‘Medical Card’ or ‘GP Visit Card’ you will be charged a consultation fee for seasonal flu vaccine

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Why get a flu vaccine?

Vaccines are the best line of defence we have against a flu virus. The flu vaccine reduces infection and associated illnesses and hospitalisation, especially for those people for whom flu can become a serious illness.

  • Click here for more detailed information
  • Information Leaflet on the Winter Flu Vaccine 2013 -2014. Available here.
  • Information Leaflet for Pregnant Women on the Winter Flu Vaccine 2013-2014. Available here.
  • Information Leaflet for Healthcare Workers on the Winter Flu Vaccine 2013-2014. Available here.

These leaflets are also available in GP surgeries and HSE local health offices.

According to Dr. Brenda Corcoran from the HSE’s National Immunisation Office, “Each year there is a new seasonal vaccine to protect against the circulating strains of flu virus.  Flu is very infectious and can cause potentially serious illnesses especially for older people those who have a chronic illness and pregnant women. All those at risk should get the flu vaccine this year to make sure that they are protected.

 “The flu vaccine cannot give you the flu as it does not contain any live flu virus.  We want to ensure that people in the at-risk groups, and pregnant women, get the annual flu vaccine this year so that our most vulnerable groups are kept safe this winter from the three most common strains of flu,” she said.

The seasonal flu vaccine is free from GPs for the key risk groups.  Those aged 18 and over in an at risk group can also get the vaccine free from their pharmacist.

The key risk groups are:

  • Persons aged 65 and over,
  • Those with a long-term medical condition such as diabetes, heart or lung disease,
  • People whose immune system is impaired due to disease or treatment,
  • Persons with a body mass index (BMI) over 40,
  • Pregnant women (can be given at any stage of pregnancy),
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long stay institutions,
  • Healthcare workers,
  • Carers,
  • People with regular close contact with poultry, water fowl or pigs

People with either a Medical Card or GP Visit Card will not be charged for the flu vaccine. General practitioners and pharmacists charge a consultation fee to administer the vaccine to patients without a Medical Card or GP Visit Card, however the vaccine is supplied free of charge.  

In addition to flu vaccination, everyone in the risk groups should also receive *pneumococcal vaccine which is available free of charge from General Practitioners. Pneumococcal vaccine is not required every year – most people only need to get it once, so those at risk should check with their General Practitioner.

Signs of Symptoms of Influenza

Symptoms of the flu include fever, chills, headache, aches and pains, and sometimes a sore throat and dry cough.  The flu is also characterised by a very sudden onset of symptoms.

Flu versus a cold or ‘flu-like’ symptoms:

SymptomsFluCold
FeverHigh (38-39°C) (102-104° F); lasts 3-4 dayRare
Headache Prominent Rare
General Aches, PainsUsual; often severeSlight
Fatigue, WeaknessCan last up to 2-3 weeksQuite mild
Extreme ExhaustionEarly and prominentNever
Stuffy NoseSometimes Common
Sneezing Sometimes Usual
Sore ThroatSometimes Common

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Last updated on: 06 / 10 / 2010