Press Statement 19th May 2020
Flu vaccine to be made available free of charge to at risk groups and children under 12 in Limerick -O’Donnell
The influenza vaccine will be freely available to children aged 2 to 12 and all at-risk groups in Limerick this winter, Limerick Fine Gael TD Kieran O’Donnell has confirmed.
Deputy O’Donnell said: “I welcome the announcement by my colleague, Health Minister Simon Harris, to extend the influenza vaccine to all children aged from 2 to 12 years inclusive, free of charge.
“Limerick people in the HSE-defined at-risk groups, aged from 6 months to 69 years inclusive, are also entitled to get the flu jab free of charge as part of an expansion of the seasonal influenza vaccination programme for winter 2020/21.
“A second wave of Covid-19 coupled with the winter flu has the potential to overwhelm Limerick hospitals and cause needless deaths and illness.
“Officials in the Department of Health are now working closely with the HSE to put in place an expansion of the seasonal influenza programme in Limerick for winter 2020/21 and further information will be provided when arrangements have been finalized.
“We need to ensure that vulnerable people in Limerick are adequately protected against the flu which can be fatal and can cause life-threatening complications.
“That is why I would strongly advise those in at-risk groups, as well as healthcare workers, to get themselves vaccinated this autumn.”
Notes to Editors:
HSE-defined Influenza at-risk groups
Vaccination is strongly recommended for:
- Persons aged 65 and over
- Pregnant women (vaccine can be given at any stage of pregnancy)
- Adults and children aged 6 months and older with a long-term health condition such as:
- Chronic heart disease, including acute coronary syndrome
- Chronic liver disease
- Chronic renal failure
- Cancer patients
- Chronic respiratory disease, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 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
- Down syndrome
- Morbid obesity i.e. body mass index of 40 or over
- Immunosuppression due to disease or treatment, including asplenia or splenic dysfunction and
- cancer patients
- Children aged 6 months and older:
- with moderate to severe neurodevelopmental disorders such as cerebral palsy and intellectual disability
- on long-term aspirin therapy (because of the risk of Reyes syndrome)
- Residents of nursing homes and other long stay institutions
- Healthcare workers including all GP practice staff
- Carers and household contacts of people with increased medical risk
- People with regular contact with pigs, poultry or waterfowl