children's health

More parents need to bring their children for flu vaccine, doctors say

The flu vaccine has been made available for free to children between the ages of 2 and 12.

DOCTORS HAVE SEEN an increase in the number of families seeking out the flu vaccine for their children this year, but not as many as there needs to be to safeguard children against the flu this winter, the Irish Medical Organisation has said.

The Irish Medical Organisation is recommending that parents to bring their children to be vaccinated against the flu as we come into the winter months.

A scheme has been set up in Ireland this year allowing children between the ages of 2 and 12 to receive the flu vaccine for free.

Speaking to, Dr Madeleine Ní Dhálaigh, a member of the GP committee of the IMO, said that there has been more interest from parents this year looking to obtain the vaccine for their children compared to previous years, but that the IMO is urging more to come forward.

In previous years, families may not have come forward as frequently for the vaccine as they are now, while doctors would have suggested it for children with a condition such as asthma or diabetes that would make them more vulnerable to the flu.

“This year, there has been more interest but not as much as we want,” Ní Dhálaigh said.

“We are actively encouraging parents and guardians to come to us to make the arrangments to have their children vaccinated,” she said.

“There are plenty of vaccines at the moment, access isn’t a problem.”

Earlier this month, there were concerns over significant delays in the delivery of flu vaccines for use by GPs and pharmacists.

However, the flu vaccine for children – which is administered through the nose as a spray – has not been affected by the same issues, Ní Dhálaigh said.

“Right now, most GP practices have plenty of children’s vaccines,” she said.

The vaccine given to children is administered through a quick spray in each nostril.

“It is over in a matter of seconds and your child will be able to breathe normally throughout the procedure. It will work even if your child has a runny nose, sneezes or blows their nose after the vaccination,” Ní Dhálaigh said.

Ní Dhálaigh said that doctors want to keep the circulation of the flu virus low so that there is reduced patient contact, which will help with fighting Covid-19 over the winter, and so that children will not develop a temperature due to the flu and have to miss out on school days and isolate at home as a result.

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