It’s flu season, which means it’s time to get your annual flu vaccine. The flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others from flu – it’s your best shot this flu season.
If you are recommended to get the flu vaccine you can get it free in participating GPs and Pharmacies in Ireland. Healthcare workers can also book an appointment online to get their free flu vaccine at a peer vaccinator clinic.
The free flu vaccine is recommended for you if you are in one of these groups:
- Aged 65 or over
- A healthcare worker
- Children aged 2 – 17
- At any stage of pregnancy
- People with certain long term medical conditions that put them at increased risk from the complications of flu
Flu is highly infectious, and anyone can catch the virus. While most people experience mild symptoms, flu can be serious in some people – especially in older people, younger children, anyone pregnant and those with certain long term conditions. They are more at risk of the severe complications from flu like pneumonia or bronchitis.
Flu can be dangerous and during a flu season in Ireland, 200-500 people could die.
Significant improvements have been made in recent years to improve uptake of the flu vaccine, especially in older adults – uptake in people aged 65 and older rose to 75.4% last flu season. However, vaccination rates for other at-risk groups, especially children, are below the WHO 75% target.
Flu is preventable by vaccination. It’s good to have questions about vaccines but you should always get information from people you can trust like the HSE or the National Immunisation Office website or have a conversation with your GP or Pharmacist. They will be more than happy to talk to you about the flu vaccines.
||We asked Dr Aparna Keegan, Specialist in Public Health Medicine at the NIO, and a specialist in seasonal influenza vaccines to talk about why it’s important to get the flu vaccine.
“The flu vaccine is the safest, most effective way to protect yourself and others – family, colleagues, patients and those vulnerable – from flu this winter.
The flu vaccine helps your immune system fight infection by producing antibodies. If you come into contact with the virus, having the vaccine can stop you from getting sick. As the protection from these antibodies fade over time and flu strains change each year, you need to get your flu vaccine every year to be protected for the flu season.
The vaccine can also help prevent you from spreading the virus to others. For healthcare workers it is important to get vaccinated as some older and at-risk patients may not get sufficient protection from the flu vaccine themselves so they rely on you to keep them safe.
It is important we do everything we can to stop the spread of flu and reduce the burden on our health services from flu. Getting your flu vaccine is the best way you can protect yourself and others from flu this winter.”
You should get your free flu vaccine as early as you can – the sooner you are vaccinated, the sooner you are protected.
The flu vaccine is your best protection from flu this winter.
Contact your GP or use our pharmacy finder for you or your child’s free flu vaccine.
This page was added on 17 October 2022