We are now taking bookings for the flu season 22/23. Many age groups will qualify for free vaccination.
1. Flu shots help reduce serious respiratory illness.
While some people who get vaccinated may still get the flu, the flu shot typically prevents about 7 in 10 people who receive it from developing moderate to severe symptoms. So, even though the vaccine might not completely prevent the flu, it can help keep you out of the hospital.
Reducing the overall burden of respiratory illnesses is really important to help protect vulnerable populations at risk for severe disease. It also helps lessen the resulting burden on our health care system, which is crucial throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
You should also follow practices you follow to help guard against COVID-19, such as handwashing, social distancing and wearing masks. These will help decrease the spread of influenza. The flu shot is still the single most effective way to reduce the spread of the flu.
2. Flu shots are safe.
The flu shot is very safe and effective at helping prevent severe disease and hospitalization.
Patients that receive the vaccine can be assured they will not get the flu from the vaccine. The virus is inactivated so it can’t actually cause the flu after you get the shot.
Flu shots are recommended for anyone six months old and older, with rare exceptions.
3. Flu shots are updated every year.
The Irish flu vaccine is reviewed every single year and updated to match circulating flu viruses. The flu vaccine can typically protect against three or four different viruses. Since the virus changes from year to year, immunization from the previous year is not protective.
Our antibody response — what helps us fight the virus — can decrease over time, so a yearly dose helps boost the antibody response before the start of the flu season.
4. Flu and COVID-19 share similar symptoms.
It’s important to know that some symptoms of the flu and COVID-19 are similar. If you have symptoms you’re concerned about, call your health care provider right away. You may need to be tested for both the flu and COVID-19 to know what you have and how best to treat it.
While receiving the flu shot doesn’t mean you can’t get the flu, vaccination will at least lessen the severity of your symptoms.
Reducing the spread of flu cases overall, by getting vaccinated, will help cut down on the number of seriously ill patients that clinics and hospitals will see, which will help everyone get through flu season more easily.
5. A flu shot protects you through the season.
Now is the best time to get vaccinated, as it takes a couple of weeks for antibodies to develop in your body. The vaccine will continue to protect you through the worst months of the flu season.
“It’s a great idea to get the flu shot right before flu season, so September and October are really good times to get vaccinated,” Godbout recommends. “We will continue to offer the flu shot throughout the fall and winter, but ideally we want to see people get it by the end of October.”
To get your flu shot, please call to Healys Pharmacy to make an appointment.
Who can get a free flu vaccine ?
You can get a free flu vaccine if you are:
- aged 65 years and older
- aged 2 to 17 years
- a healthcare worker
- living in a nursing home or other long-term care facility
- in regular contact with pigs, poultry or waterfowl
People with these conditions can also get a free flu vaccine:
- chronic heart disease, including acute coronary syndrome
- chronic liver disease
- chronic kidney failure
- chronic respiratory disease, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, moderate or severe asthma, or bronchopulmonary dysplasia
- chronic neurological disease including multiple sclerosis, hereditary and degenerative disorders of the central nervous system
- Down syndrome
- a body mass index (BMI) over 40
- immunosuppression due to disease or treatment (including asplenia or hyposplenism, and all cancer patients)
- children with a moderate to severe neurodevelopmental disorder such as cerebral palsy
- children on long-term aspirin therapy
- any condition that can compromise respiratory function, like spinal cord injury, seizure disorder or other neuromuscular disorder, especially people also attending special schools or day centres
Free flu vaccines will be offered to carers or household contacts of people who have:
- a health condition listed above
- Down syndrome
Who is a carer?
Free flu vaccines will not be offered to household contacts of:
- people aged 65 years and older, who do not also have a chronic health condition
- pregnant women
- children aged 2 to 17 years
- healthcare workers