Article by
Dani Reiter
Updated
October 2nd, 2019

57% of Ireland Avoid Annual Flu Shots

Women can get a flu vaccine during any stage of pregnancy says the NHS

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Boots Ireland announced research revealing 57 percent of people in Ireland have never been vaccinated against the influenza virus.

Of those who haven’t had a flu shot in the past, 10 percent stated that the ‘cost was the main factor in their decision’, while 7 percent claimed it was a matter of how much time it took to organize’ an appointment. 

Additionally, this report published by Boots in PharmacyNewsIreland on September 29, 2019, found only 29 percent of people plan to get vaccinated for the 2019/2020 flu season.

Ireland’s national guidelines strongly urge those in the at-risk groups to get an annual influenza vaccination. At-risk groups include those over the age of 65 years, pregnant women and people with long-term health conditions.

This year, the seasonal flu vaccine protects against the 4 strains of flu virus recommended by the World Health Organization, as the influenza strains most likely to be circulating this season in the Northern Hemisphere.

Speaking on the importance of getting vaccinated, Dr. Kim Roberts, Ussher Assistant Professor of Virology and leader of the Influenza research group at Trinity College Dublin, said in this article: “Getting the flu vaccination is the best preventive measure against influenza and the spread of the virus. The flu vaccine usually takes about two weeks to take effect, so it’s better to get the vaccination as early in the season as possible”.

While it is strongly recommended that people in these groups get the flu vaccination, Boots, a leading pharmacy chain, is supporting the national guidelines by ‘encouraging the public to take preventative measures to stop the spread of flu by getting vaccinated.’

In Ireland, the Northern Hemisphere seasonal flu vaccine is available from October 2019 until the end of April 2020. 

Of those who have previously received a flu vaccination, about 20 percent obtained service from a pharmacy.

Caoimhe McCauley, Director of Pharmacy, Boots Ireland, commented: “Some patients may be eligible for a free vaccine depending on their HSE scheme eligibility and risk factors.” 

“The consultation appointment can be booked on-line with walk-ins also welcome. Our in-store pharmacists are available to answer any questions about the vaccination service and give advice on general winter wellness.” 

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“The vaccination can help to prevent the spread of the virus to both you and those around you, helping protect those who are vulnerable against flu this season,” concluded McCauley.

If you are pregnant you should get the flu vaccine because you are at increased risk of severe complications from flu, says HSE. The flu shot is made from an inactivated virus, so it's safe for both mother and baby during any stage of pregnancy. 

You should get it as early as possible in your pregnancy.

The flu vaccine helps your immune system to produce antibodies to fight the influenza virus. If you have been vaccinated and you come into contact with the virus, these antibodies will attack it and stop you from getting sick.

If you are pregnant through 2 flu seasons, you may need 2 vaccinations, 1 in each flu season.

Pregnant women are more likely to get complications due to changes in their heart and lung function. Getting flu in pregnancy may also lead to premature birth, lower birth weight, and even stillbirth. 

The flu vaccine will also help protect a newborn baby during their first few months of life, says HSE.

Boots Ireland is a leading pharmacy-led health and beauty retailer with 87 stores and just over 2,000 employees. Boots Ireland's purpose ‘is to help customers look and feel better than they ever thought possible.’

Travel Vaccine information published by Vax-Before-Travel