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Flu vaccine for healthcare workers

The flu vaccine will be available from the beginning of October 2020.

Healthcare workers prevent the spread of flu and save lives by getting the flu vaccine.

The best way to protect you, your patients and your family is to get this year's vaccine.

You can pass the flu virus to somebody you care for even before you know that you are sick.

Flu can be transmitted from 1 day before (asymptomatic) and for 3 to 5 days after developing symptoms. During this time patients and colleagues could become infected.

Healthcare workers and flu

Healthcare workers are at an increased risk of getting flu.

At least 20% of healthcare workers are infected with flu every year. Many people do not get symptoms of flu. You might only have mild symptoms and continue to work. This increases the risk of passing on flu to patients, family and colleagues.

If you have any symptoms of flu, please do not visit:

  • hospitals
  • residential care facilities
  • vulnerable people

People who are 65 and older or with long-term medical conditions, often have weaker immune systems. These groups are more likely to be in hospitals and long-term care facilities. They rely on the immunity of people who care for them.


Research has shown increased vaccinations lead to a reduction in the rates of flu-like illness. This means less hospitalisation and deaths from flu in the elderly. It also means there is a reduction in healthcare worker sick leave.

Who should get vaccinated

Everyone working in a healthcare setting should get the flu vaccine including:

  • medical, nursing and allied health professionals including those working in residential disability services
  • medical, nursing and allied health students including those working in residential disability services
  • general support staff
  • dental personnel
  • hospital porters and cleaners
  • ambulance personnel
  • carers and home helps
  • all GP practice staff
  • agency staff who fall into the above categories.

We also recommend the flu for others at-risk groups.

Even healthy people can get seriously ill from flu.


Infection prevention and control procedures, such as hand hygiene, are essential in healthcare settings but they will not prevent flu.

Vaccination is the best protection against flu.

Pregnant healthcare workers

We recommend the seasonal flu vaccine for all pregnant women. Pregnant women are more likely to get complications from flu. The vaccine can be given at any stage of pregnancy.

Getting the flu vaccine

Contact your line manager, peer vaccinator, occupational health department.


The flu vaccine and is free for all healthcare workers. 


Getting the flu after vaccination

There are always other viruses circulating that can cause symptoms similar to flu. The vaccine only protects against flu and not other viruses.

You might have been exposed to flu around the time of the vaccination or during the 2 weeks it takes to develop immunity.

Uptake of flu vaccine by healthcare professionals

This year the HSE aims to achieve a target of 75% flu vaccine uptake among healthcare workers.

HSELanD eLearning Programme

An eLearning Programme "The Flu Vaccine - Protect yourself, Protect others" is now available for all HSE staff and staff from HSE Funded Services on HSELanD.

The module has been developed by the Workplace Health and Wellbeing Unit. It is used to educate and inform healthcare workers about the flu vaccine.

If you have any comments or queries about the module please contact the Workplace Health and Wellbeing Unit at hr.wellbeing@hse.ie

More information

  • Healthcare workers are at an increased risk of flu infection compared to the general adult population
  • Even healthy people can get seriously ill from flu
  • Flu can be transmitted from 1 day before (asymptomatic) and for 3 to 5 days after developing symptoms, during which time patients and colleagues could become infected
  • You might only have mild symptoms and continue to work. If you are symptomatic, please do not visit hospitals, residential care facilities or vulnerable people
  • Flu is highly transmissible and those who are infected can spread the disease, this increases the risk to their family, colleagues and to vulnerable patients

You may only have mild symptoms and continue to go to work. Flu can be transmitted from 1 day before (asymptomatic) and for 3 to 5 days after developing symptoms, during which time family, patients and colleagues could be infected.

Infection prevention and control procedures, such as hand hygiene, are essential in healthcare settings but they will not prevent flu.

Vaccination is the best protection against flu.

There are always other viruses circulating that can cause symptoms similar to flu. The vaccine only protects against flu and not other viruses.

You might have been exposed to flu around the time of the vaccination or during the two-week period it takes to develop immunity.

This year the HSE aims to achieve a target of 75% flu vaccine uptake among healthcare workers.

In 2019/2020 there was an increase in flu vaccine uptake both in hospital staff (58.32% compared to 53.2.8% in 2018/2019) and in staff working in long term care facilities (where there was a slight increase in uptake 43.1% compared to 42.2% in 2018/2019)

Healthcare Workers Flu Poster