Seasonal Flu Vaccine - Reminder
What is influenza (flu)?
Influenza is a highly infectious acute respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. Influenza affects people of all ages. Outbreaks of influenza occur almost every year, usually in winter. This is why it is also known as seasonal flu.
Who is most at risk from flu?
Anyone can get the flu but it is more severe in people aged 65 years and over and anyone with a chronic medical condition. Chronic medical conditions include chronic heart conditions, chronic respiratory disease (including Cystic Fibrosis), diabetes mellitus and immunosupression
due to disease or treatment. Pregnant women have also been found to be at increased risk of the complications of flu.
How can flu be prevented?
Flu can be prevented by vaccination. Flu vaccine is a safe, effective way to help prevent flu infection, avoiding hospitalisation, reducing flu related deaths and illnesses.
What is the seasonal (annual) flu vaccine?
Each year the seasonal (annual) flu vaccine contains three common influenza virus strains. The flu virus changes each year this is why a new flu vaccine has to be given each year.
How does seasonal flu vaccine work?
Seasonal flu vaccine helps the person’s immune system to produce antibodies to the flu virus. When someone who has been vaccinated comes into contact with the virus these antibodies attack the virus.
How effective is seasonal flu vaccine?
Seasonal flu vaccine prevents flu illness in approximately 70% – 90% of people. The effectiveness varies depending on the age and health of the person being vaccinated and the strains of flu virus that are circulating. Older persons and those with certain long term diseases have lower immune responses so the vaccine may not be as effective but it will still prevent severe illness and hospitalisation.
When should you get the flu vaccine?
Vaccination should take place in September and October.
How do I get vaccinated?
● People aged 18 years or older may attend either their GP or Pharmacist.
● People under 18 years of age should attend their GP for vaccination.
Please make an appointment now. The vaccine and consultation are free to those within the recommended groups who have a ‘Medical Card’ or ‘Doctor Only Card’. Family doctors and Pharmacists charge a consultation fee for seasonal flu vaccine to those who do not have a
‘Medical Card’ or ‘Doctor Only Card’.
Remember: you should also ask your doctor about the pneumococcal vaccine which protects against pneumonia, if you have not previously received it.
For more information, check out this information leaflet here