Flu Vaccine Service
The Flu Vaccine will become available from mid-September and we are now taking names for appointments.
Complete the relevant form below to receive notifications on the Flu Vaccine.
Pre-Register your details here to receive priority notifications on the Flu Vaccine availability.
What is Flu?
The Flu is a highly contagious illness caused by the influenza virus. The virus infects your lungs and upper airways, which results in the characteristic symptoms of the flu such as a sudden high temperature, general aches and pains and a headache. The flu can make you feel extremely weak and you may find it difficult to even get out of bed. The symptoms of the flu generally last for up to a week but can often leave people feeling drained and tired for a number of weeks.
Flu affects people of all ages. In some people, flu can cause serious complications such as pneumonia. The flu can be a life-threatening illness and in Ireland, between 200-500 people die from the flu each year.
How does the Flu Vaccine work?
The flu vaccine helps your immune system produce antibodies to fight the influenza virus. If you have been vaccinated and you come into contact with the virus, these antibodies will attack it and stop you from getting sick.
Who should get the Flu Vaccine?
Anyone 6 months and older can get the flu vaccine. Certain ‘at risk’ groups more likely to experience complications of the flu if they were to catch it, therefore it is highly recommended that anyone who falls into one of these groups should get the vaccine every year.
These ‘at risk’ groups are entitled to receive the vaccine free of charge:
People aged 65 years and over
People (adults and children) with long-term medical conditions such as
Chronic lung disease including COPD
People whose immune system is impaired due to disease or treatment, including cancer patients
Persons who are obese who have a body mass index (BMI) of over 40
People with Down syndrome
Residents of nursing homes and other long-stay institutions
Carers and household contacts of people at medical risk of the complications of flu
People with regular close contact with poultry, waterfowl or pigs
In addition to the above, this year the government have announced that the flu vaccine will be available to all children aged 2-12 years free of charge. For children in this age group, a nasal spray vaccine will be given.
For anyone who does not fall into one of the above categories, a charge will apply.
Who should not get the Flu Vaccine?
You should not get the flu vaccine if :
You have had a severe allergic (anaphylaxis) reaction to a previous dose or any part of the vaccine.
You are taking medicines called combination checkpoint inhibitors (e.g. ipilimumab plus nivolumab)
Your vaccination should be re-scheduled if you have an acute illness with a temperature greater than 38°C.
Vaccinations and COVID-19
Vaccinations for people with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 should be deferred until they are no longer self-isolating (i.e. both of these must apply - the person has not had a fever for 5 days or more and it has been over 14 days since they first developed symptoms).
Is there a nasal spray vaccine available?
Yes, there is a nasal spray flu vaccine available in Ireland this year called ‘Fluenz Tetra’. The nasal spray vaccine is given to children aged 2-18 years.
Are there any side effects of the Flu Vaccine?
The most common side effects of the flu vaccine are mild and do not last long. They include soreness, redness or swelling where the injection was given. Headache, fever, aches and tiredness may occur. These side effects do not mean that you are getting flu and can be easily treated by taking paracetamol or putting a cold compress on the site of the injection.
As with all vaccines, there is a rare chance of a severe allergic reaction occurring. As the majority of these will occur within 15 minutes of getting your vaccine, you are asked to remain in the vicinity of the pharmacy for this time as all pharmacists are trained to deal with this.
How long does the flu vaccine take to work?
It may take 10 to 14 days for your immunity to build up fully after you have had the flu vaccine.
I got the flu vaccine last year – am I still protected?
No, because the flu strains change from year to year, therefore last year’s vaccine may not work on this year’s flu strain. The flu vaccine must be gotten every year in order to stay protected.
Can the Vaccine give me the Flu?
No, this is a myth! The injected flu vaccine doesn’t contain any live viruses, therefore it cannot give you the flu.
How effective is the Flu Vaccine?
The flu vaccine is the best protection you can get against an unpredictable virus. The Flu can cause unpleasant illness in children, severe illness and death among at-risk groups, including older people, pregnant women and people with an underlying physical health condition.
Studies have shown that the flu vaccine will help prevent you from getting the flu. It will not stop all flu viruses and the level of protection may vary, so it's not a 100% guarantee that you'll be flu-free. However, if you do get the flu after your vaccination, it's likely to be a milder and shorter-lived illness than it would otherwise have been.
What is the difference between the Flu and COVID-19?
Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses. Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis.
Will the Flu Vaccine protect me against COVID-19?
The flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19. There is currently no vaccine available to protect against COVID-19.
When is the best time to get vaccinated?
Getting vaccinated in July or August is too early, especially for older people, because of the likelihood of reduced protection against flu infection later in the flu season. September and October are the best times to get vaccinated so make sure to register your interest here so we can alert you when the vaccine arrives.
When will the Flu Vaccine be available?
The flu vaccine will be available from mid-September until April.
How do I make an appointment for the Flu Vaccine?
Enter your details on the registration form and you will be contacted as soon as the vaccines arrive in store.
Additional information can be found on the HSE Website