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Seasonal influenza

Although seasonal influenza activity remains at a low level across the country there has been concern because of recent deaths due to influenza. These occurred in residents of a private nursing home in the North West.  

The HSE continues to recommends seasonal influenza (flu) vaccine for all those in the at risk groups below


Is it too late to get seasonal influenza (flu) vaccine?

No. The flu season will continue to the end of April 2012. People in the at risk groups who have not been vaccinated this season should get the flu vaccine NOW. 


Who should get seasonal flu vaccine?

Vaccination is strongly recommended for people who are more at risk of complications if they get flu. These are;

  • persons 65 and over,
  • those with a long-term medical condition such as diabetes, heart or lung disease,
  • healthcare workers,
  • residents of nursing homes and other long stay institutions,
  • carers,
  • people whose immune system is impaired due to disease or treatment,
  • people with regular close contact with poultry, water fowl or pigs,
  • persons with a body mass index (BMI) over 40,
  • pregnant women (the vaccine can be given at any stage of pregnancy


Why do pregnant women need to get seasonal flu vaccine?

Studies have shown that pregnant women with flu infection are at higher risk of complications compared to non pregnant women. All pregnant women and especially those who have recently become pregnant who might not be aware of this recommendation should get seasonal flu vaccine.


Is it safe for pregnant women to be vaccinated?

Yes. The vaccine is safe for pregnant women. Reactions are generally mild and serious side effects are very rare. Seasonal flu vaccine has been recommended for several years for all pregnant women in the USA.


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

The vaccine is available free of charge from GPs for all people in at risk groups, and from pharmacists for everyone aged 65 and over. An administration charge may apply to people who do not hold a Medical Card or GP Visit Card.


More information on flu and flu vaccine is available here.

More information about Pandemrix vaccine and Narcolepsy is available here.


Health Protection Surveillance Centre The Department of Health and Children Irish College Of General Practitioner