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Seasonal Flu

Seasonal Flu Vaccination

What is flu?

Flu is an acute respiratory illness caused by infection with an influenza virus.  Flu is usually self limiting and recovery takes 2-7 days, but it can be a severe illness in the elderly or those with chronic diseases such as respiratory illnesses like cystic fibrosis or asthma, chronic heart disease, diabetes, or chronic liver and kidney diseases.

Influenza is spread by coughing or sneezing and is very contagious.  Symptoms include a high fever, sore throat, dry cough, aches and pains in the limbs and headache.  Sometimes nausea and vomiting may occur.

Who should be vaccinated against flu?

Annual immunisation is strongly recommended, for, and is free to, the following:

People not in the above categories can have the vaccine at a cost of €25. 

HSE Info on the vaccine can be found here

The following are entitled to a free flu vaccine (you must have a PPS number)

There is no charge (with PPS number) for:

  • Patients aged over 65 
  • High risk patients (patients with chronic disease, immunosuppressed patients or those who have had their spleen removed) 
  • Pregnant patients (suitable in all stages of pregnancy)
  • Carers of high risk patients, or those living with high risk patients
  • Healthcare workers
  • All those aged 2 - 12 years (usually, the nasal vaccine, which is most effective in this age group). 

A charge of €25 applies to all other patients who do not fall into the above groups. 

Frequently asked Questions about flu vaccination

Q. Does the flu vaccine cause flu?
A. No, the flu vaccine does not contain live vaccine therefore cannot cause flu

Q. Why is the flu vaccine given every year?
A. As the strain of influenza virus changes yearly so must the vaccine change in order to provide maximum protection against the circulating virus. 

Q. When should the flu vaccine be given?
A. Around October every year

Q. How effective is the flu vaccine?
A. 70-80% effective

Q. How long before the vaccine will provide protection against flu?
A. It takes 10-14 days for the vaccine to start to provide protection

Q. Is the flu vaccine safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women?
A. Yes it is safe for both. Pregnant women with a chronic disease or those with immunosuppression should especially be vaccinated 

Q. Can children be given the flu vaccine?
A. It is possible to administer the flu vaccine in Children older than 6 months of age

Vaccinating your staff against flu in the workplace

A new vaccine against the current strain of influenza is produced each year and is available around early October.  Vaccination takes no more than a few minutes and all equipment is provided. 

Please contact Veronica Quadu at Mercer's Medical Centre for more information. 

Mercer's Medical Centre is part of Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn