Flu vaccine for people with long-term conditions

Some people are more at risk of getting complications if they catch flu.

You can get the flu vaccine for free if you:

  • are 65 years of age and over
  • are pregnant
  • are a child aged 2 to 17 years 
  • are an adult or child aged 6 months or older at increased risk for flu related complications including
  • those with long term conditions
    • chronic heart disease, including acute coronary syndrome
    • chronic liver disease
    • chronic renal failure
    • chronic respiratory disease, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, moderate or severe asthma or bronchopulmonary dysplasia
    • chronic neurological disease including multiple sclerosis, hereditary and degenerative disorders of the central nervous system
    • diabetes mellitus
    • haemoglobinopathies
  • morbid obesity i.e. body mass index (BMI) over 40
  • immunosuppression due to disease or treatment (including treatment for cancer)
  • children with a moderate to severe neurodevelopmental disorder such as cerebral palsy
  • children on long term aspirin therapy 
  • those with any condition that can compromise respiratory function (e.g. spinal cord injury, seizure disorder or other neuromuscular disorder) especially those attending special schools or day centres
  • were born with Down syndrome
  • live in a nursing home or other long-term care facility
  • some people should get the vaccine to protect themselves, their families and those they care for. These include
    • those who work in healthcare
    • only household contacts or carers of people who have an underlying chronic health condition or have Down syndrome are eligible to receive an influenza vaccine. A carer is described as someone who is providing an ongoing significant level of care to a person who is in need of care in the home due to illness or disability or frailty.
  • People who are in regular contact with pigs, poultry or waterfowl should get the flu vaccine. 

Please note: though anyone who wishes to protect themselves from flu may have the flu vaccine, household contacts of people aged 65 years and older (who do not also have a chronic health condition), pregnant women, children aged 2-17 years or of healthcare workers or carers cannot avail of the HSE season influenza vaccine provided free to all those in high risk groups and have to source the flu vaccine privately.

If you are in an at-risk group, you should get the flu vaccine as early into the flu season as you can.

Find out how to get the flu vaccine.

More information

This page was updated on 6 October 2021