The Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) has urged people to avail of the flu vaccine early in this year’s flu season. According to the IPU early vaccination will provide the best individual protection and can contribute to a nationwide reduction in flu levels.
Speaking at the launch of the IPU’s annual campaign to encourage people to get an annual flu vaccine IPU Vice President Eoghan Hanly said “Influenza (the flu) is a highly-infectious illness that can result in a very serious infection; tragically last year 74 people in Ireland died as the result of flu. In the Northern Hemisphere the flu season typically lasts from October to April.
“The 2019/20 Seasonal Flu Vaccine is now available in pharmacies nationwide. This has been proven as the best protection against flu. It has also been shown that the most effective time to get the flu vaccine is before flu begins spreading in your community. Therefore early vaccination is highly recommended, particularly for those in at-risk groups.”
Hanly also warned that flu vaccination is required annually. “Each flu is different and therefore, unlike many vaccines which can provide lifelong protection, a flu vaccine is required annually. If you received a vaccine last year there is no guarantee that you are protected from the strains of the virus that will hit Ireland during this year’s flu season.”
Eoghan Hanly added that “Pharmacists have been safely delivering flu vaccines since 2011, in other countries they routinely offer a wider vaccination service and this is something that should be introduced in Ireland. We have been calling for the introduction of vaccines for meningococcal disease, tetanus and hepatitis A and B, as well as travel vaccines.”