Now is the time to book your Flu Vaccine

As we prepare for the winter season amid the Covid-19 pandemic, now is the time to think about pre-booking your flu vaccine with your GP or Pharmacist.

The HSE have confirmed that the flu vaccine for at-risk groups will be available from the end of September 2020. The Nasal Flu Vaccine for Children will be available from the end of October 2020.

Contact your nearest Haven Pharmacy to pre-book your Vaccine and beat the queue to beat the flu!

The following Haven Pharmacy stores are providing a Flu Vaccination service:

  • Haven Pharmacy Brennans – Ballyboden 01 4951664
  • Haven Pharmacy Brosnans – Kenmare 064 6641318
  • Haven Pharmacy Butlers – Birr 057 9120189
  • Haven Pharmacy Faheys – Tullamore 057 9321540
  • Haven Pharmacy Hollys – Ballinasloe 090 9645676
  • Haven Pharmacy Hollys – Ennis 065 6828568
  • Haven Pharmacy Hollys – Liosban 091 750054
  • Haven Pharmacy Kavanaghs – Dunshaughlin 01 8259801
  • Haven Pharmacy Kennellys – Tralee 066 7121042
  • Haven Pharmacy Loobys – Palmerstown 01 6264574
  • Haven Pharmacy McAleers – Finglas 01 8342619
  • Haven Pharmacy McLaughlins – Walkinstown 01 4557354
  • Haven Pharmacy Moloneys – Ballyfermot 01 6264131
  • Haven Pharmacy Murphys – Clonard 053 9184444
  • Haven Pharmacy Murrays – Killiney 01 2852538
  • Haven Pharmacy Raffertys – Cornelscourt 012893191
  • Haven Pharmacy Raffertys – Stillorgan 01 2880153

This year’s seasonal flu vaccine contains protection against 4 strains of flu virus. These are recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the strains most likely to be circulating this season.

The four strains are:

  • an A/Guangdong-Maonan/SWL1536/2019 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
  • an A/Hong Kong/2671/2019 (H3N2)-like virus
  • a B/Washington/02/2019 (B/Victoria lineage)-like virus
  • a B/Phuket/3073/2013 (B/Yamagata lineage)-like virus

There is no thiomersal (mercury), gelatin or porcine gelatin in the 2020/2021 flu vaccine.

The 2020/2021 HSE seasonal vaccination programme will offer the Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine (split virion, inactivated) manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur for people with long-term health conditions.

Patient Information Leaflet and the Summary of Product Characteristics are available from

What is the Flu?

Seasonal flu (also known as influenza) is a highly infectious illness caused by the flu virus. The virus infects your lungs and upper airways, causing a sudden high temperature and general aches and pains, headache, weakness and exhaustion. Symptoms can last for up to one week. You may need to stay in bed until your symptoms get better. Flu affects people of all ages. In some people flu can cause serious complications such as pneumonia.

How flu is spread?

If you are carrying the virus, you can spread it by coughing or sneezing. This can happen from 1-2 days before symptoms develop and up to 5 days after symptoms develop. Flu can survive on worktops and objects, especially in low temperatures and low humidity. You can get flu by touching a surface with the virus on it and then touching your mouth, eyes or nose. The virus can live on a hard surface for up to 24 hours and a soft surface for around 20 minutes.

How serious is Flu?

The Flu virus is an unpredictable virus. If you are healthy you will usually recover in 7 days. But Flu can be severe and can cause serious illness and death. Complications of flu include bronchitis, pneumonia, ear infections and rarely acute encephalopathy (swelling of the brain). Serious complications of flu are more likely if you have a chronic medical condition or if you are aged 65 years or older. Pregnant women are also at increased risk of flu complications. In Ireland, between 200 and 500 people, mainly older people, die from flu each winter. Every year, around the world, flu causes between 3 and 5 million cases of severe disease and up to 646, 000 deaths.

The Flu Vaccine

This year, the seasonal flu vaccine protects against the 4 strains of flu virus recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the strains most likely to be circulating this season. The flu viruses that are circulating change every year. This is why you need to get a new vaccine each year. You should get your flu vaccination from September to be protected for flu season. People 10 years and over should get the vaccine from their GP or Pharmacist or Occupational Health Department. Younger children should get the vaccine from their GP. The flu vaccine is free if you are in an at-risk group or if you have a medical card or a GP visit card. The flu vaccine doesn’t contain any live viruses – it cannot give you the flu.

How it works

The flu vaccine helps your immune system to produce antibodies to fight 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. The flu vaccine starts to work within two weeks.

Who should get the Flu Vaccine?

The HSE are strongly urging people in at-risk groups to get the flu vaccine. Vaccination is recommended if you are

  • are 65 years of age and over
  • are pregnant (can be given at any stage of pregnancy)
  • are a child or adult with a long-term health condition such as diabetes, heart, kidney, liver, lung or neurological disease
  • work in healthcare
  • a cancer patient
  • have a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 40
  • an adult or child aged 6 months and older with down syndrome
  • are a carer or household contact of anyone at increased medical risk of flu
  • live in a nursing home or other long-term care facility
  • in regular contact with pigs, poultry or water fowl
  • a household contact for an at-risk person

Who should NOT get the Flu Vaccine?

You should not get the flu vaccine if you have had a severe allergic (anaphylaxis) reaction to a previous dose or any part of the vaccine. Don’t get the flu vaccine if you are taking medicines called combination checkpoint inhibitors (e.g. ipilimumab plus nivolumab). Vaccination should be re-scheduled if you have an acute illness with a temperature greater than 38°C.

Where can I book my Flu Vaccine?

You can make an appointment in selected Haven Pharmacy stores nationwide. Administration of the Flu Vaccine is free to all Medical Card, Doctor Visit Card, 2015a Card & HAA Card holders who belong to one of the at-risk groups listed above. Recently, the Minister for Health announced that the flu vaccination programme will be extended and made available free of charge to all children aged 2-12 years and to those in at risk groups. This is to minimise the risk of a second wave of  COVID-19 during the winter flu season. Eligibility criteria are subject to change by the HSE.