SEASONAL FLU VACCINE
Influenza (flu) is a highly infectious acute respiratory illness caused by the flu virus. Flu affects people of all ages. In a typical flu season, up to 500 people, mainly older people, die from flu in Ireland. Flu symptoms come on suddenly with a fever, muscle aches, headache and fatigue. This is different from a cold which is a much less severe illness compared to flu. A cold usually starts gradually with a sore throat and a blocked or runny nose. Symptoms of a cold are generally mild compared to flu
Flu is unpredictable. While anyone can catch flu, some people are more at risk of getting seriously ill or needing hospital treatment. Serious breathing complications can develop, including pneumonia and bronchitis, to which older people, younger children and those with certain chronic medical conditions are particularly susceptible. Pregnant women are also at increased risk of severe complications from flu. Flu can significantly increase the risk of premature birth and even stillbirth during pregnancy.
This year the seasonal (annual) flu vaccine protects against four common virus strains. The flu virus changes each year and this is why a new flu vaccine has to be given each flu season.
Getting the flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself, and others from the flu. This year the free flu vaccine is recommended for you if you are in one of these groups:
- Aged 65 years and over
- A health care worker
- A child aged 2 to 17 years
- At any stage of pregnancy
- People with certain medical conditions which put them at increased risk of complications from flu g. heart or lung disease
Vaccination should ideally be undertaken in autumn each year to be protected for the flu season. Flu vaccines have been given to millions of people worldwide and are very safe. The flu vaccine cannot give you the flu. It takes 10-14 days for the vaccine to start protecting you against flu.
Both flu and COVID-19 can cause serious illness. Flu and COVID-19 are caused by different viruses and the flu vaccine does not protect against COVID-19. It is important to get both the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine.
If you have had the COVID-19 vaccine you should still get the flu vaccine. You can get the flu vaccine at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine.
The flu vaccine and administration are free from participating GPs and Pharmacies to those within the recommended groups. If you are a health care worker, you may be able to get the free flu vaccine at your place of work.
More information is available from your GP, Public Health Nurse or Pharmacist
www.hse.ie/flu provides details about flu vaccination, along with answers to any questions you may have about flu
If you are over 65 or have a long term medical condition you should also ask your doctor about the pneumococcal vaccine which protects against pneumonia, if you have not previously received it. You can get the flu vaccine at the same time as the pneumococcal vaccine.
Protect yourself. Protect others.