GPs across Ireland are once again pleading to the general public to get their Covid booster vaccines and flu jabs this winter.
Earlier this week, the chief of the World Health Organisation, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, proclaimed that the global situation surrounding Covid-19 is drastically improving. “We have never been in a better position to end the pandemic. We are not there yet, but the end is in sight,” he noted.
In Ireland last week, the number of people diagnosed with Covid fell to its lowest level since the pandemic began in March 2020. However, public health experts are still worried that without a significant uptake in Covid boosters, the rate of infections could rise alongside the threat of flu season. These viruses could then cause significant stress on our already-pressured health service.
Speaking on RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland today, infectious diseases expert Professor Sam McConkey expressed that while the more recent strains of Covid have not caused serious illness amongst patients, members of the public should still be wary.
“I’m hopeful we won’t see a worse variant [of Covid], but we could see a whole new disease. There could be a new threat out there,” he explained, urging people to take advantage of the offer of Covid boosters.
“Vaccination is important, I think vaccination is one of the solutions…and part of the reason why we’re not seeing this [severe illness], so I would highly encourage people to get their vaccines, get their boosters.”
“I would also strongly encourage vaccination for influenza”, he added, encouraging the public to get involved with the HSE’s flu vaccine campaign.
The second round of Covid booster vaccines are currently available for those who fall into the following categories: people aged 50 and older, pregnant women (from 16 weeks), healthcare workers, and those aged 12 or older who have high-risk health conditions or a weakened immune system.
The flu vaccine rollout is expected to be available in pharmacies nationwide from October onwards. However, some pharmacies have already started offering flu jabs, and so it would be worthwhile to ask your local pharmacy when you can book your vaccine.