General Information about Flu Vaccination

The Winter Flu Vaccination Service runs each year from October to April. Each year, the vaccines chosen by the National Immunisation Office contain strains of flu virus most likely to be circulating each season. The flu viruses that are circulating change every year, which is why you need to get a new vaccine each year.

You should get your flu vaccination from early October to be protected for the winter flu season.

Who should be vaccinated against flu?

The HSE recommends that the following groups of people should be vaccinated against flu every year, and as such, these groups are entitled to free flu vaccination. This list is subject to change but your pharmacist will help you find out if you are eligible for free flu vaccination. You are highly recommended to receive the flu vaccine if you:

  • Are aged 65 or over
  • Are pregnant – at any stage of pregnancy
  • Are aged between 2 and 17 years
  • Have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or more
  • Have immunosuppression due to disease or treatment (including treatment for cancer)
  • Are a child with a moderate to severe neurodevelopmental disorder such as cerebral palsy
  • Are a child on long term aspirin therapy
  • Have a condition that can compromise respiratory function (e.g. spinal cord injury, seizure disorder or other neuromuscular disorder) especially those attending special schools or day centres
  • Were born with Down syndrome
  • Live in a nursing home or other long-term care facility
  • Are a healthcare worker
  • Are aged 6 months or older and have any of the following conditions*:
    chronic heart disease, including acute coronary syndrome
    chronic liver disease
    chronic renal 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
    diabetes mellitus
  • *Household contacts or carers of people with chronic health conditions may also be eligible for free flu vaccination.

The HSE website contains a full list of eligible groups for this flu season – click HERE

Can I, or Should I, be vaccinated if I don’t fall into one of the HSE categories?

Most people over the age of 6 months can receive the flu vaccination at participating pharmacies. And in most cases, it’s a good idea, even if you are not eligible for free vaccination. In some instances, however, depending on allergies, medical conditions, or other risk factors, it may be more suitable to receive the vaccination from your GP. The pharmacist will carry out an assessment to ensure the vaccine is suitable to be given in the pharmacy. The fee for private flu vaccination is determined by your pharmacy – please contact them for details. Click here to locate your nearest Haven Pharmacy.

Types of Flu Vaccination

Flu vaccine is administered either via injection or nasal spray.

Nasal Spray

Vaccination by nasal spray is recommended for most children aged 2 to 17 years. Some children will need two doses on two separate dates. This method of vaccination may not be suitable for all children in this age bracket, including those with asthma.

For HSE information on Flu Vaccine for children aged 2 – 17 years, click here

Flu Vaccine Injection

Vaccination by injection in the upper arm is recommended for most people aged 18 years and over, and for children for whom the nasal spray is not suitable. There are two types of vaccine for injection this flu season – one is specifically for people aged 65 and older. Vaccination by injection in the thigh is recommended for most children aged 6 months to 2 years. Your Haven pharmacist will determine which is the most suitable method.

Click here to learn more about flu vaccination for those aged over 65

The HSE website contains more information as well as links to specific vaccine information – click here

Covid-19 Precautions

The safety of our patients and our staff is of utmost importance and we will take all necessary steps to minimise the risk of infection. Please note the following in advance of your appointment:

All those attending for flu vaccination will be required to complete a Covid-19 Screening questionnaire to ensure it is safe for them to visit the pharmacy.
Pharmacists carrying out flu vaccination will wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
Patients are asked to ensure they wear a face mask or face-covering while in the pharmacy and during their appointment.
Please ensure you arrive at the exact time of your appointment to minimise the amount of time spent in the pharmacy.
Please advise the pharmacy if you will be accompanied to your appointment by a carer or companion to ensure we have enough space for adequate social distancing during and after your appointment.

What will happen during my appointment?

Please note that anyone under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian
All interactions will be carried out in private
The pharmacist will carry out a risk assessment to determine if it is suitable to carry out the vaccination and which vaccine type is most suitable
All patients will be given information about the vaccine, including risks and possible side-effects, and will have the opportunity to ask questions or raise concerns
Consent is required before any vaccination – for those under 16, consent must be provided by a parent or legal guardian
All those who receive the flu vaccination are required to wait in or near the pharmacy for 15 minutes after their vaccination as a safety measure.

If you have booked an appointment for flu vaccination with your pharmacy, please remember to inform them if you need to cancel, either due to illness, Covid-19 precautions, or if you secure an appointment elsewhere