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04 Dec 2021

HSE urges 'at risk groups' to get free flu vaccine

HSE urges 'at risk groups' to get free flu vaccine

Pregnant mum, Sorcha Nic Mhathúna, 38, Kilmainham, Dublin, with son, Fiach de Rís, 2; and Sorcha’s mum Máire Ní Chonaire, 75, from Ranelagh, Dublin.

The HSE has reminded the public that at risk groups can get their free flu vaccine this winter. 

Those who are pregnant or have a certain long term medical condition can get their free vaccine through participating GPs and pharmacies.

The HSE would also like to remind other recommended groups that they can still get vaccinated through the same channels, or through your workplace if you’re a healthcare worker.

The flu vaccine will help protect those most at risk of serious illness from flu.

This year, the free flu vaccine is recommended if you are in one of these groups:

·        Aged 65 and over

·        A health care worker

·        A child aged 2 – 17

·        At any stage of pregnancy

·        People with certain medical conditions which put them at increased risk from the complications of flu

 If you are pregnant, you and your baby are at an increased risk of complications from flu. You are more likely to need treatment in hospital or the Intensive Care Unit because of flu if you are pregnant. The flu vaccine can be received at any stage of pregnancy . It is safe and will help protect you and your baby.

Those with certain long-term medical conditions are more at risk of flu-related complications. The HSE is reminding people in at-risk groups that the sooner you get the flu vaccine, the sooner you will be protected against influenza this flu season. The vaccine takes about two weeks to take full effect and is the best way to prevent influenza.

People can get the flu vaccine at the same time as other vaccines like the COVID-19, HPV or Whooping Cough vaccines.**

Stephen Donnelly TD, Minister for Health, said : "COVID-19 is not the only virus that can have a detrimental effect on the most at-risk groups in our society. As influenza and COVID-19 are caused by different viruses, it is important that people, especially those who are vulnerable, protect themselves by getting both the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine.

"Those who are pregnant should note that the flu and COVID-19 vaccines can be administered at any stage of pregnancy. Being vaccinated will reduce the chance of you becoming very unwell from COVID-19 or flu and reduce the chance of complications for your baby. I would urge everyone who is pregnant or at-risk to contact their GP or pharmacist to avail of this free service as soon as possible.”

Dr Aparna Keegan, Specialist in Public Health Medicine and Flu Lead, HSE National Immunisation Office, said: "While anyone can catch the flu, some people are more at risk of becoming seriously ill from it. For those in at-risk groups, such as people with certain long-term medical conditions, it’s important to get the flu vaccine as soon as possible.

 "If you are pregnant, getting the flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your baby against influenza. Your baby will also be protected during their first six months. This is when babies are most likely to be admitted to hospital with flu. If you are pregnant this flu season, you should get the flu vaccine.”

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