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vaccine programme

Free flu vaccine programme to be extended to people aged over 50

The expansion of the flu vaccine programme was announced by Health Minister Stephen Donnelly this afternoon

PEOPLE AGED BETWEEN 50 and 64 will now be able to access a free flu vaccine, under an expansion of the Flu Vaccination Programme for 2021/2022.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly announced the expansion of the programme this afternoon, as part of measures to reduce the risk of flu cases entering Irish hospitals this winter.

People aged over 65 had previously had access to a free flu jab, alongside pregnant women, children aged two to 17, healthcare workers and people with long-term health conditions.

The measure was taken to reduce the risk of flu cases compounding the winter pressures on the health system, due to the continued circulation of Covid-19 and other respiratory illnesses.

“I am delighted today to announce the extension of the flu vaccination programme. By making the seasonal flu vaccine available free of charge to all adults aged 50-64, we are helping to protect you against flu and to reduce its spread in the community,” said Donnelly.

“This extension, which is in line with NIAC recommendations, is intended to further limit demands on health services for flu-related illnesses over the winter months.” 

People can access the jab at participating pharmacies and GPs, with the jab being able to be given at the same time as a Covid-19 booster.

Dr Aparna Keegan, Specialist in Public Health Medicine and Flu Lead at the HSE National Immunisation Office, welcomed the move by Donnelly to expand the programme.

“We welcome the Department of Health’s extension of the Seasonal Influenza Immunisation programme to include people aged 50 years and older,” said Keegan

“Flu can be a serious illness and can affect people of all ages.”

“Getting the flu vaccine is your best shot at protecting yourself and those around you this flu season,” said Dr Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer at the HSE.

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