More than half of the population have never been vaccinated.
During the 2018/2019 flu season, 3,217 influenza hospitalised cases were reported in Ireland. While these were the most severe cases, getting a flu vaccination reduces the risk of getting the flu by up to 60% and helps prevent the spread of the virus.
HSE national guidelines strongly urges those in the at-risk groups to get the flu vaccination[v] as they are particularly vulnerable and have a greater chance of developing complications from flu. At risk groups include those over the age of 65 years, pregnant women and people with long-term health conditions. While it is strongly recommended that people in these groups get the flu vaccination, Boots are supporting the HSE by encouraging the public to take preventative measures to stop the spread of flu by getting vaccinated.
Of those who have previously availed of a flu vaccination, 66% go to their GP for the service, with one in five people (20%) availing of the service from a pharmacy. The vaccination is now available for those aged 10 years or older in selected Boots stores nationwide*, see Boots.ie for full list of stores.
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: “Getting the flu vaccination is the best preventive measure against influenza and the spread of the virus. With the service available in Boots stores across the country, it’s now more accessible than ever to get the flu vaccine and should be a priority for everyone to help prevent the spread of the virus. I have been availing of the service in Boots for years – it couldn’t be easier. 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”.
Caoimhe McCauley, Director of Pharmacy, Boots Ireland, commented: “Getting vaccinated against the flu each season is the first step in staying healthy during the winter months. 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. 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. Our in-store pharmacists are available to answer any questions about the vaccination service and give advice on general winter wellness. More information on the service is also on Boots.ie.”
Of those who haven’t had a flu vaccination in the past, 10% stated cost was a main factor in their decision, while 7% claimed it was a matter of how much time it took to organise. Many stores offer late night and weekend opening hours and the service can be booked online with walk-ins also welcome. The cost of the vaccination is €20** however is free of charge for those over 10 years old who are in the categories for whom vaccination is strongly recommended and have a Medical Card, Doctor Visit Card, HAA** Card or 2015A*** Card.
*The vaccination is now available for those aged 16 and over in 84 stores nationwide.
**Subject to specially trained pharmacists and stock availability.