Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

11.04 25 Jun 2020


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Some countries are buying up 'massive supplies of flu vaccine' ahead of autumn.

Professor Luke O'Neill says there's a debate emerging about whether the flu vaccine should be made available for everyone this year.

It comes amid concerns that COVID-19 could re-emerge during the traditional flu season and put extra pressure on the health system.

Flu vaccine manufacturers are boosting production of the vaccine amid an anticipated surge in demand.

The Washington Post reports that public health officials in the US have bought millions of doses to distribute to states.

Meanwhile, the UK and other countries are considering making the jab available to everyone, according to The Guardian.

Speaking on The Pat Kenny Show, Professor O'Neill - professor of biochemistry at Trinity College Dublin - said this is a case of 'hoping for the best and preparing for the worst'.

Luke O'Neill: Some countries 'buying up massive supplies of flu vaccine' ahead of autumn

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He explained: "Our fear is now the autumn comes, we're back indoors again, and COVID might re-emerge - that's our first concern.

"But of course flu season [would be] upon us, which can be very severe. It can put huge pressure on any health system.

"The question is how do we prepare for the autumn, and one suggestion is we should all be getting the flu vaccine."

Prof O'Neill said the flu vaccine works "reasonably well" - not in every case, but is in general a good protecter.

He observed: "At the moment it's recommended for over 65s, pregnant women, people who've got a weakened immune system... they should certainly be getting it.

"The question now is whether we should vaccinate more widely. It's an interesting debate... I'm sure the HSE is considering this."

Main image: File photo. Picture by: LM Otero/AP/Press Association Images

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