Flu Vaccination Available Without Charge to Children Aged 2-12 and All At Risk Groups

  • IPU repeats call to allow pharmacists to administer flu vaccines in nursing homes and workplaces

 18 May 2020: The Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) has today welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD, to make the flu vaccine available to all children aged 2-12 and all at risk groups. The news follows a recommendation by the IPU earlier this month for the flu vaccine to be made freely available to everyone who wants it during the coming flu season.

Commenting on the announcement IPU Secretary General Darragh O’ Loughlin said, “While we would have liked to see the scheme extended further, making the flu vaccination available to children aged 2-12 and to all at risk groups without charge is definitely a step in the right direction. It will help increase our capacity to combat seasonal flu and prevent it from overwhelming the health system during the winter.”

Last year, over 1.1 million flu vaccines were delivered in Ireland, an increase of over 60% since pharmacies were first permitted to administer the vaccine a decade ago. Given that the convenience and availability of the vaccine has led to greater uptake, the IPU believes that pharmacists should be allowed to administer the vaccine to people in nursing homes and workplaces.

“Every year there is a spike in hospital admissions due to people suffering from flu and related complications. We can and we should do much more to prevent this by making it easier for the vaccine to be offered to wider groups of people in a community setting. Increasing the locations where this is permitted to residential services and to workplaces would significantly increase uptake and help build a herd immunity. We can’t yet stop the coronavirus, but we can stop the flu,” concluded O’ Loughlin.