This year’s flu vaccine campaign is “going very well” with over one million doses handed out already, the HSE has told Newstalk Breakfast
The health service has been dealing with a "sharp increase" of patients with respiratory diseases and Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry said it has been a “longer, more protracted flu season than we’ve had in many years”.
Anyone aged over 65 or between two and 17-years-old, is pregnant, a healthcare worker or medically vulnerable is encouraged to get the vaccine.
Dr Lucy Jessop, Director of Public Health at the HSE’s National Immunisation Office, said there has been a high uptake.
“The flu vaccine campaign is doing very well and we have given over 1.1 million doses of flu vaccine this season - which is great,” she told Newstalk Breakfast.
“[With] the more vulnerable - the 65s and above - we’ve hit our target of 75% uptake.
“So, that’s really great.
“We’re encouraging people now who are eligible; now really is the time to come forward… because it does take a couple of weeks to work.
“So, for you to be protected during this time, it’s very important to be vaccinated.”
77% of Irish people have received a COVID booster jab and anyone aged between 18 and 49 is now eligible for a second.
However, the rate of vaccination varies across the nation; only 8% of people in Blanchardstown/Mulhuddart have received a second booster but in Rathfarnham/Templeogue the figure rises to 33%.
“In terms of those who are eligible and those who are particularly at risk from COVID infection, we actually have a very good uptake of our booster vaccines,” Dr Jessop said.
“In Europe, we’re doing very well for our second and our third boosters; in fact, we’re highest for Europe for our third booster in the over 60s.
“In terms of those second boosters for those 65 years and above who have been eligible for some time, actually 78% of people in Ireland have had their second booster if they’re 65 years and above and 44% have then gone on to have their third booster.”
Bookings can be made on the HSE’s website.
Main image: GP prepares to give the flu jab injection to a patient. Image: Alamy.com