Older people and at-risk groups urged to get vaccines

15 Vaccination Centres across the country are continuing to provide COVID-19 vaccines.

The HSE’s winter vaccination programme has gotten underway with the roll out of the free flu vaccine to recommended groups while those aged over 65 and all aged 12 and over with a weak immune system.

Last Monday, October 3, marked the rollout of the adapted bivalent vaccines.

Three adapted bivalent mRNA COVID-19 vaccines have been recommended for use for booster vaccination by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC), following approval by the European Medicines Agency.

Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD welcomed the roll-out of the HSEs winter vaccination programme that will facilitate booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine and seasonal flu vaccines being administered at the same time in GPs and Pharmacies.

“As the weather becomes cooler and the nights become darker, all of our thoughts turn to how best we can protect ourselves and our loved ones from the worst impacts of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses that circulate at this time of year,” he said.

15 Vaccination Centres across the country are also continuing to provide COVID-19 primary vaccines and 2nd and 3rd booster doses this winter.

“We know that vaccines offer good protection from both COVID-19 and seasonal flu and urge everyone eligible to avail of this opportunity as soon as possible,” added the minister.

Dr Aparna Keegan, Specialist in Public Health Medicine, HSE National Immunisation Office, noted that this winter both the flu and COVID-19 viruses are expected to circulate.

“It is very important that all those who are invited, get both their free flu vaccine and COVID-19 booster vaccines. Flu and COVID-19 are caused by different viruses but both can cause serious illness. The flu vaccine does not protect against COVID-19.

“That is why it is important that if you have had a COVID-19 vaccine you should still get your free flu vaccine. Both Flu and COVID-19 vaccines will be available from participating GPs and Pharmacies and can be given at the same time.”

COVID-19 primary and booster vaccines for people aged 12 or over are also available in the 15 vaccination centres across the country.

The HSE is also reminding anyone who has not received their primary vaccine or their booster doses, or who has had COVID-19 and has had to wait 4 months for their booster to book an appointment as soon as possible.

Dr Keith Ian Quintyne, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, HSE Public Health

To see what vaccines are recommended for you, visit www.hse.ie/covid19vaccine and hse.ie/flu, call HSELive on 1800 700 700 or talk to a participating GP or Pharmacy.