The HSE has urged parents to get their children vaccinated against flu amid concern that the number of cases will soon increase steeply.
Children aged between two and 17 are eligible for a free nasal spray flu vaccine and HSE Consultant in Public Health Dr Aparna Keegan said she hoped parents would book an appointment soon.
“We’re worried about the number of winter viruses that are going to be circulating shortly,” she said.
“We expect the number of flu cases to increase and also, we’ve seen in the community, there’s quite high levels of what we call Respiratory syncytial virus or RSV - especially infecting young children.
“But we know that there’s a safe and effective vaccine available for children with regards to fu, so that’s why we’re encouraging parents to get the vaccine now, before Christmas.”
A #COVID19 Vaccination Clinic for children will be held in St Brendans Health Centre, Rossbrien, Limerick(V94 KC8V) TODAY, Monday the 4th Dec from 3:00pm to 4:30pm. Walk-ins are welcome, but you can also book your appointment in advance by using this link https://t.co/N1IFncppV8 pic.twitter.com/Dfc6AZotXi
— HSE Mid West Community Healthcare (@CommHealthMW) December 4, 2023
Dr Keegan described the vaccine as “really simple” adding that her own children told her it ‘tickled’ when they were getting it.
“There are plenty of GPs and pharmacies across the country offering the nasal flu vaccine for free,” she said.
“If you go to HSE.ie/flu you’ll be able to find a local pharmacy who is offering this vaccine for you.
“Once you go to your appointment, it’s just literally a quick spray on each nostril of the child.”
Those who are over 65, pregnant, a healthcare worker, live in a nursing home or have an underlying condition are also eligible for a free flu vaccine.
People over the age of 50 and those with underlying conditions are also eligible for COVID booster shots and the HSE has previously expressed concern that ‘vaccine fatigue' was leading to poor take-up rates.
COVID and flu vaccines can be administered at the same time.
Main image: A child receives a flu vaccine nasal spray from a nurse.