The Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) has urged all people in at-risk groups for the flu to get vaccinated if they have not done so already. Those in at-risk groups include people aged 65 and over, pregnant women and people with chronic illness. Healthcare workers should also get the vaccine to protect themselves and those that they care for.
Pharmacist, Ann Marie Horan, explained the importance of getting the flu vaccine, “The flu is a highly-infectious and potentially a very serious illness. In recent years, January has been the peak month for flu cases including hospitalisations and unfortunately fatalities as well. The HSE says there has been a significant increase in flu cases reported at hospitals in recent days as schools reopen and people return to work. This year’s flu vaccine is a good match for circulating strains and the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself from getting the flu.”
“While some people may feel that it is ‘too late’ in the flu season to avail of the vaccine, that is certainly not the case. The flu season in the Northern hemisphere typically runs until April, with January and February the most virulent time. For anyone who has not yet done so we would strongly recommend getting the flu vaccine at your earliest convenience, which you can get at your local community pharmacy.”
The vaccine is particularly important for those in at-risk groups, Ann Marie Horan advised, “Given the potentially serious complications of flu, anyone aged 65 years and over, pregnant women and those with a chronic illness should urgently avail of the flu vaccine. However, even those outside the at-risk groups should consider getting the vaccine as by protecting themselves they are also protecting those around them.