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HSE launches winter vaccination programme with flu and Covid-19 jabs

The HSE is inviting eligible groups to get their flu jab and their Covid-19 booster.

Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

THE HSE IS rolling out the free flu vaccine to certain groups from today, as well as inviting over 65s and medically vulnerable people to get their next Covid-19 booster.

The free flu vaccine is available to people over 65, healthcare workers, children aged two to 17, pregnant women and people with certain long-term medical conditions which put them at higher risk of complications from the flu.

Today also marks the rollout of the adapted bivalent vaccines, which include a component of the original virus strain a component of the Omicron variant.

Three adapted bivalent mRNA COVID-19 vaccines have been recommended for use for booster vaccination by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC), following approval by the European Medicines Agency.

From October 17th the children’s flu nasal spray vaccine will also be available free for all children aged two to 17 from GPs and pharmacies.

For children aged five to 11 who have not had their first Covid-19 vaccination, and for those with a weak immune system and due a booster dose, appointments are available at HSE vaccination centres by making an appointment on www.hse.ie.

In a press statement, Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly said: “As the weather becomes cooler and the nights become darker, all of our thoughts turn to how best we can protect ourselves and our loved ones from the worst impacts of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses that circulate at this time of year.

“15 Vaccination Centres across the country are also continuing to provide Covid-19 primary vaccines and 2nd and 3rd booster doses this winter.

“We know that vaccines offer good protection from both COVID-19 and seasonal flu and urge everyone eligible to avail of this opportunity as soon as possible.”

Dr Aparna Keegan, Specialist in Public Health Medicine, HSE National Immunisation Office, said: “This winter, both the flu and COVID-19 viruses are expected to circulate. It is very important that all those who are invited get both their free flu vaccine and COVID-19 booster vaccines.

“Flu and COVID-19 are caused by different viruses but both can cause serious illness. The flu vaccine does not protect against COVID-19. That is why it is important that if you have had a COVID-19 vaccine you should still get your free flu vaccine.

“Both Flu and COVID-19 vaccines will be available from participating GPs and Pharmacies and can be given at the same time.”

Covid-19 primary and booster vaccines for people aged 12 or over are also available in the 15 vaccination centres across the country.

The HSE is also reminding anyone who has not received their primary vaccine or their booster doses, or who has had COVID-19 and has had to wait 4 months for their booster to book an appointment as soon as possible.

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