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Free flu vaccine will be available for children aged 2-12 this winter

The vaccine will also be free for people in at-risk groups and those aged 70 and over.

Image: Shutterstock/PhotobyTawat

THE FLU VACCINE will be available to children aged between two and 12 for free this winter, Minister for Health Simon Harris has said. 

Harris today confirmed that at-risk groups defined by the HSE aged from six months to 69 years will also be able to get the vaccine for free.

People aged 70 and over already have access for free and this will continue. 

Those defined as at-risk by the HSE include people aged 65 or above, pregnant women, people with long-term medical conditions and people whose immune systems are compromised. 

Work is underway at the moment on this extension of the free vaccine and more details will be provided when it is finalised. 

“A resurgence of Covid-19 during the coming flu season could present a significant challenge to the delivery of healthcare services in the coming winter,” Harris said today.   

As a result, the Department of Health and the HSE have expanded the free vaccine to those aged between two and 12 inclusive for the coming winter months. 

“Flu is a potentially fatal illness and I want to ensure that the most vulnerable in our communities are protected,” Harris said.   

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“When the time comes, I will be strongly encouraging those from at-risk groups to get vaccinated to protect themselves and, in the case of health care workers, those they care for, from exposure to the flu.

“The flu vaccine is the only defence against the flu and is the best option for vulnerable people against the life-threatening complications of flu”.

Every year, between 200 and 500 die from the flu, according to the HSE. The vaccine was available for last winter from October 2019 to April 2020. 

The flu is more severe in people aged 65 years and over, pregnant women and those with a long-term medical condition. 

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