The head of Fórsa’s Health and Welfare division, Éamonn Donnelly, has urged people to get the flu jab as we head into the winter. “A high uptake would not only offer greater immunisation in the community, but also reduce the strain on health services this winter,” he said.
And he warned against complacency, saying that health officials expected much higher incidence of flu this year. “We saw incredibly low levels last year, because Covid-19 measures like social distancing, mask wearing and travel restrictions were in place. As we begin to ease out of some of these restrictions, let’s remember that there will be lower levels of immunity against the flu among the population,” he said.
He added that the jab gives protection to your family and the community at large. “The flu can be passed on even before you realise the symptoms and this can be extremely damaging for patients with weakened immunity,” he said.
The distribution of flu vaccines got underway for people aged 80 and over on 4th October under the HSE’s flu vaccination campaign. Children's flu vaccine will be available from next week.
Several groups are eligible to get a free flu shot including over-65s, children aged 2-17, pregnant women and people with medical conditions which put them at increased risk from the complications of flu.
The inoculations reduce rates of a range of respiratory illnesses and levels of infection overall and help the health service to cope with the demands of other service requirements.
Official HSE advice stresses the importance of getting both the Covid-19 and flu vaccine, because vaccinating against one of these conditions does not protect against the other. Get a list of recommended vaccination groups HERE.
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