The public are being encouraged to get their flu and Covid-19 vaccines ahead of ‘peak virus season’.
The Chief Medical Officer, Professor Breda Smyth, and Chief Nursing Officer, Rachel Kenna, are urging people who are eligible to get the flu and COVID-19 vaccines before winter.
The seasonal vaccination programme will offer a flu vaccine in the form of a nasal spray for children aged 2-12 years, and an injectable flu vaccine for all other eligible groups.
A Covid-19 booster is also available for people aged 50 and over, and those in certain other categories including members of the public who are immunocompromised.
The flu and Covid-19 vaccines can be administered at the same time and are available at participating GPs and pharmacies, and in healthcare settings for healthcare workers.
The children’s nasal spray flu vaccine is also available to some primary school children in the school setting.
The Department of Health has revealed there has been strong uptake for both vaccines to date, and the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Nursing Officer are reminding everyone to take the opportunity to boost their protection before the respiratory virus season reaches its peak later this year.
CMO Professor Breda Smyth released a statement that reads, “Vaccines are safe and effective, and along with good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, they’re the best way to protect ourselves from the respiratory illnesses circulating this winter. It is very important that all those who are invited, get both their free flu and COVID-19 booster vaccines”.
“As the two vaccines can be administered at the same time, it’s a quick and easy way for people to protect their health, as well as protecting those around them”.
She continued, “Young children in particular are more likely to be very sick from flu, so I am asking parents to please consider getting your child vaccinated. The ‘flu vaccine for children is a nasal spray and is administered quickly and painlessly”.
CNO Rachel Kenna then added, “I am encouraging everyone who is eligible to please make an appointment to receive your ‘flu jab and COVID-19 booster to help minimise the risk of serious illness”.
“I would particularly encourage my nursing and midwifery colleagues as well as all health and social care professionals and medical colleagues to take the opportunity to get vaccinated to protect themselves and vulnerable patients. Walk-in vaccination clinics for healthcare workers are operating around the country”.