With the continuing COVID-19 Pandemic, it is important to ensure you and your loved ones are taking all precautions to protect their immune system this winter.
Flu Vaccines will be available from mid-late September in our stores. Booking will be available via our Website when vaccines are available.
To answer any questions you may have about the flu vaccine, our Superintendent Pharmacist, Elaine has answered some of the most frequently asked questions.
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 are 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:
You can get the flu vaccine for free if you:
- are 65 years of age and over
- are pregnant
- are a child aged 2 to 17 years
- are an adult or child aged 6 months or older with a long-term health condition like
- chronic heart disease, including acute coronary syndrome
- chronic liver disease
- chronic renal failure
- chronic respiratory disease, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, moderate or severe asthma or bronchopulmonary dysplasia
- chronic neurological disease including multiple sclerosis, hereditary and degenerative disorders of the central nervous system
- diabetes mellitus
- morbid obesity i.e. body mass index (BMI) over 40
- immunosuppression due to disease or treatment (including treatment for cancer)
- are a child with a moderate to severe neurodevelopmental disorder such as cerebral palsy
- Born with Down syndrome
- Live in a nursing home or other long-term care facility
Other groups of people should get the vaccine to protect themselves, their families and those they care for.
These include those who:
- Work in healthcare
- Only household contacts or carers of people who have an underlying chronic health condition or have Down syndrome are eligible to receive an influenza vaccine. A carer is described as someone who is providing an ongoing significant level of care to a person who is in need of care in the home due to illness or disability or frailty e.g. those in receipt of a carer's allowance.
- People who are in regular contact with pigs, poultry or waterfowl
Please note : Household contacts of the following groups are not entitled to a free flu vaccine :
- Household contacts of People aged 65 years and older unless they have have a chronic health condition(listed above)
- Household contacts of Pregnant women
- Household contacts of children aged 2-17 years
- Household contacts of healthcare workers or carers
For anyone who does not fall into one of the above categories, or does not fall into an at risk category as stated by the HSE, 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 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 2-17 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, 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 should be taken 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?
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 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 Corona virus (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 are 4 types of COVID vaccine currently available in Ireland. Please see www.hse.ie for further information on getting a COVID vaccine.
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 book your appointment as soon as possible when vaccines arrive.
When will the Flu Vaccine be available?
The flu vaccine will be available from mid-late September until April.
How do I make an appointment for the Flu Vaccine?
Our flu vaccine booking forms will open in mid-late September. You can also contact one of our stores directly to add your name to our list. Click here to find out our store locations so you can find the one closest to you.
I work for a company and would like to get my staff vaccinated. Can you help?
Yes, we offer a corporate vaccination service to help you protect your team from the effects of flu. If you would like to register your interest in availing of this service please send us your details to firstname.lastname@example.org
Why Choose Us?
- We have 9 Pharmacies located across Dublin with early morning and late-night opening hours
- We have 18 specially trained pharmacists who are available to answer any queries prior to vaccination – just pop into any of our stores!
- Staff can avail of weekend appointments in a number of our locations
- There is an option for instore clinic days exclusively for your business
- Flexible payment options