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Flu Vaccine

What is seasonal flu (influenza)?

Seasonal flu is a highly infectious viral illness of the respiratory tract that can be life threatening.

Can flu cause serious illness?

Flu is a serious illness which can cause complications in people with long term medical conditions, those aged 65 years and over and pregnant women.

Is it cold or flu?

Flu symptoms come on suddenly with a fever, muscle aches, headache and fatigue. A cold is a much less severe illness than 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.

What is the seasonal (annual) flu vaccine?

Each year the seasonal (annual) flu vaccine contains three common influenza virus strains. The flu virus changes each year - this is why a new influenza vaccine has to be given each year.

How does seasonal flu vaccine work?

Seasonal flu vaccine helps the person’s immune system to produce antibodies to the flu virus. When someone who has been vaccinated comes into contact with the virus these antibodies attack the virus.

Who should get seasonal flu vaccine?

Vaccination is strongly recommended for:

  • Persons aged 65 and over
  • Those with a long-term medical condition such as diabetes, heart or lung disease
  • People whose immune system is impaired due to disease or treatment
  • Persons with a body mass index (BMI) over 40
  • Pregnant women (can be given at any stage of pregnancy)
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long stay institutions
  • Healthcare workers
  • Carers
  • People with regular close contact with poultry, water fowl or pigs

When should vaccination be postponed?

There are very few reasons why vaccination should be postponed. Vaccination should be re-scheduled if you have an acute illness with a temperature greater than 38°C.

Why do pregnant women need to get seasonal flu vaccine?

Pregnant women should be given flu vaccine as they are at higher risk of severe complications from flu. Flu vaccine protects pregnant women during pregnancy and provides ongoing protection to their newborn baby during their first few months of life. If you are pregnant please read the HSE website section on the flu vaccine and pregnancy.

When should you get the flu vaccine?

Vaccination should take place in September and October.

How long does it take the vaccines to work?

The vaccine starts to work within two weeks.

I am in one of the at risk groups so how do I get vaccinated?

People aged 18 years or older may attend either their GP or Pharmacist. People under 18 years of age should attend their GP for vaccination. If you have a ‘Medical Card’ or ‘GP Visit Card’ the vaccine and consultation are free. If you do not have a ‘Medical Card’ or ‘GP Visit Card’ you will be charged a consultation fee for seasonal flu vaccine.

Please make an appointment with our Pharmacist now.


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