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24/10/2021

HSE urges Tipperary people to get flu jab as it rolls out its winter vaccination campaign

HSE urges Tipperary people to get flu vaccination

Janice Looby, administration staff member received her flu vaccine from colleague Michelle Fraher at a vaccination clinic in the Haywood Lodge mental health services residential care centre in Clonmel

The HSE is reminding people in counties in Tipperary to get their free of charge flu vaccine.

Among those to receive their flu vaccines this week at a clinic in the Haywood Lodge mental health services residential care centre in Clonmel, were South Tipperary based HSE/South East Community Healthcare employees.

 Haywood Lodge is a purpose built 40 bed facility, comprising of two wards catering respectively for Psychiatry of Later Life and care and treatment for residents under the care of the rehabilitation and recovery team.

The flu vaccination team on duty at the clinic in Haywood Lodge included staff nurse Michelle Fraher, who is a “peer vaccinator” among South Tipperary’s mental health services teams. Among fellow healthcare staff in Haywood to receive their flu vaccine from Michelle at the clinic were Chelsea Hackett (support staff), Marcella Hahessy (staff nurse), Margaret Power (healthcare assistant) and Máiréad St. John (staff nurse).

Launching the flu vaccination campaign this week, Chief Officer of South East Community Healthcare Kate Killeen White drew attention to the importance of getting a flu vaccine:

“Of course, there has been much attention on COVID-19 in the last 18 months. There is, however, another potentially dangerous infection out there this winter – the flu.”

“Due to non-pharmaceutical interventions last year (such as social distancing and the use of face coverings indoors), there was a massive reduction in circulating flu. This, however, may have resulted in a reduction in population immunity and increased susceptibility in this year’s flu season. For healthcare workers, getting vaccinated means protecting themselves, their patients, and their families.”

Dr. Catherine Lynch, Specialist in Public Health Medicine with the HSE’s Public Health Dept. in the South East, added:

“Flu is unpredictable. As high an uptake as can be achieved generally, in addition to cutting the risks of infection will help the health services to better manage any demands on the system from COVID-19 cases. We also want to avoid scenarios whereby people might become co-infected with flu and the coronavirus and the severe illness that may be involved.” 

“Flu is a serious illness. Although the severity of the flu season can vary, we know that people aged 65 and over are most likely to be impacted and have an increased likelihood of severe illness, being admitted into hospital or dying from flu when compared to the general population. The flu vaccine is the best protection against flu this winter. Regrettably, up to 500 people in Ireland die from this disease every year *. This is why it is so important that, if you are eligible to get a flu vaccine, you do so as soon as it is offered to you. A flu vaccine will protect those aged over 65 from the very worst effects of flu.”

 

Who should get the free flu vaccine?

 

This year the free flu vaccine is recommended for you if you are in one of these groups:

·                Aged 65 and over

·                A health care worker

·                A child aged 2 – 17

·                At any stage of pregnancy

·                People with certain medical conditions which put them at increased risk from the complications of flu.

 

For a full list of recommended groups visit hse.ie/flu

Those aged 65 and over

If you are 65 or over you are at higher risk of serious illness or complications such as pneumonia if you get the flu. This 2021-2022 flu season, the flu vaccine being offered to people aged over 65 is called Fluad Tetra **.

This is an adjuvanted vaccine. That means it contains an ingredient that stimulates the immune system, making it more effective against flu in people in older people. It is being offered in Ireland for the first time this year but a similar vaccine has been used for several years in various countries, including the UK and USA.

Those aged 65 years and over can contact their GP or local pharmacy to make an appointment. People aged 65 year and over who live in long-term residential care facilities will be offered this vaccine where they live.

Healthcare workers

 If you are a healthcare worker, flu vaccination is important to protect yourself and to prevent the spread of the flu to colleagues, families and patients. The majority of healthcare workers are being offered their flu vaccine at work or through some GPs and pharmacies. Healthcare workers aged 65 or over can go to their GP or pharmacist to get the vaccine that is recommended for them.

 It is important to get both the flu vaccine and the Covid-19 vaccine

The flu vaccine doesn’t protect against Covid-19. It is important to get both the flu vaccine and the Covid-19 vaccine. This is because flu and Covid-19 are caused by different viruses.

 Some people are being offered an additional Covid-19 vaccine or booster at this time too. Additional doses are being offered to people with weakened immune system. Booster doses will shortly be offered to those over 65 living in residential care or those over 80 living in the community. Covid-19 vaccines and the flu vaccine can be taken separately or together. It is safe to get a Covid-19 vaccine at the same time as the flu vaccine.

 

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