Unfortunately, due to limited stock availability we have had to suspend online bookings for the Flu Vaccination Service in certain stores. We are working hard to acquire more stock and will make appointments available again soon. Please continue to check our website for up-to-date information.

For the 2020/2021 Flu (Influenza) Season there has been some important changes to the Seasonal Flu Vaccination Service and why it is important for you and your loved ones to book a Flu Vaccination now at your local CarePlus Pharmacy.

The Flu Vaccine is considered the best protection against the flu, its complications and spread of the flu. Annual vaccination is recommended because the virus is constantly changing and is the best way to lower your chances of getting the flu.

The flu vaccine does not cause the flu. It is important to keep in mind that getting the flu vaccine also protects the people around you. When you and your family get vaccinated, you help keep yourselves and your community healthy. This is especially important if you spend time with people who are at risk of serious illness from the flu — like young children or older adults. Amid the current COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever.

CarePlus Pharmacy provide a Seasonal Flu Vaccination Service to help you avoid infection.

What is New for the 2020/2021 Flu (Influenza) Season?

For 2020/2021 Flu Season, Pharmacists will be able to administer the flu vaccine to children from 6 months and older.

This year there are two presentations of the vaccination available, there are certain factors such as age, health and allergies which will indicate which vaccination is suitable for customers.

At CarePlus Pharmacy we will be offering both:

  • Quadrivalent Inactivated Influenza Vaccine
  • Fluenz Tetra Nasal Spray Suspension which is a Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine (LAIV)
  • Pharmacists will be able to supply and administer the Fluenz Tetra Nasal Spray Suspension to children and adolescents from two years old. This type of flu vaccine is administered into the nose in two divided doses into each nostril.

    The Fluenz Tetra Nasal Spray Suspension (LAIV) has been found to be more effective in children than the Quadrivalent Inactivated Influenza Vaccine (QIV).

    The Fluenz Tetra Nasal Spray Vaccine Suspension (LAIV) is recommended by The National Immunisation Authority Committee (NIAC)  for all children aged 2 to 17 years inclusive however, the Department of Health has decided the nasal spray vaccine (LAIV) should be given to children aged 2 to 12 years inclusive for 2020/21 HSE seasonal influenza vaccination programme.

    As part of the 2020/21 HSE Seasonal influenza vaccination programme –

  • Children between the ages of 6 months and 23 months, 13 years to 17 years, as well as adults 18 years and older, are recommended the injectable flu vaccine (QIV).
  • Children between the age of 2 years to 12 years are to be offered the nasal spray vaccine (LAIV), unless due to various factors the child is not suitable for the nasal spray vaccine (LAIV). In this case the injectable flu vaccine (QIV) can be given.
  • What is Seasonal Flu (Influenza)?

    Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a common and highly infectious respiratory illness caused by the Influenza virus that infects the nose, throat, and lungs. It can range from mild to severe and can have serious or life-threatening complications.

    Fever, cough, headache, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose along with all over muscle and body aches and extreme fatigue are all symptoms that can be associated with the flu.

    It affects people of all ages and is usually more prevalent in the winter months.

    Who Should Get the Seasonal Flu Vaccine?

    It is recommended that everyone from 6 months of age and older should get the  flu vaccine every season with rare exceptions. Vaccination to prevent flu is particularly important for people who are at high risk of developing serious flu complications.

    While everyone from 6 months and older should consider getting a flu vaccine, it is especially important that the following groups get vaccinated:

  • Children aged 2 years to 12 year
  • Anybody aged 65 years and over
  • Pregnant women (flu vaccine is safe at any stage of pregnancy)
  • Children on long-term aspirin therapy (because of the risk of Reye syndrome)
  • Anybody (adults and children) with long-term medical conditions such as diabetes; chronic heart, liver, and kidney disease; chronic lung disease including COPD, or neurological diseases
  • Anybody with cancer
  • Anybody whose immune system is impaired due to disease or treatment, including family members
  • Anybody who is obese who have a body mass index (BMI) of over 40
  • Anybody with Down syndrome
  • Anybody with regular close contact with poultry, waterfowl, or pigs
  • Anybody who wishes to reduce their own or their child’s risk of infection may choose the flu vaccine for themselves and/or their child.
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long-stay institutions
  • Healthcare workers
  • Carers and household contacts of people at increased risk of flu because of medical conditions
  • The ideal time for vaccination in Ireland is from September to October, but the vaccine maybe given until the end of April.

    Who Should NOT get the Seasonal Flu Vaccine?

    Different flu vaccines are approved for use in different age groups. In addition, some vaccines are not recommended for certain groups of people. Factors that can determine a person’s suitability for vaccination, or vaccination with a particular vaccine, include a person’s age, health (current and past) and any allergies to the flu vaccine or its components.

    The Quadrivalent Flu Vaccine should NOT be given to:

  • Anybody with a history of an allergic reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine or any of its constituents.
  • Anybody taking medicines called combination checkpoint inhibitors (e.g. ipilimumab plus nivolumab).
  • Anybody who has an egg allergy; they must be referred to their GP to be vaccinated.
  • Anybody unwell with a high temperature of more than 38°C, will need to have their vaccination postponed.  Please reschedule with your CarePlus Pharmacy when you are feeling well again.
  • The Fluenz Tetra Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine should NOT be given to:

  • Any child with a severely weakened immune system.
  • Any child with a severe egg allergy with anaphylaxis that has led to an intensive care hospital admission.
  • Any child with severe asthma, that is, those being treated with steroid tablets or who have needed intensive care because of their asthma.
  • Any child who is currently wheezy or have been wheezy in the past 72 hours.
  • Any child with an allergy to any of the vaccine ingredients, such as neomycin.
  • Any child who has a condition that requires salicylate (aspirin) treatment.
  • Some children over the age of 2 who are at high risk of flu because of one or more medical conditions or treatments and cannot have the nasal spray flu vaccine because of this, they will be given the injected flu vaccine.

    How the Injectable (QIV) Flu Vaccine Works?

  • The flu vaccine stimulates your body's immune system to make antibodies to attack the flu virus. Antibodies are proteins that recognise and fight off germs, such as viruses, that have invaded your blood.
  • It may take 10 -14 days for your or your child’s immunity to build up fully after having had the flu vaccine.
  • If you or your child are exposed to the flu virus after having had the flu vaccine, your immune system will recognise the virus and immediately produce antibodies to fight it.
  • The main flu viruses change each year, so a flu vaccine injection must be given each year, in the same way as the nasal spray flu vaccine.
  • How the Nasal Spray (LAIV) Flu Vaccine Works?

  • The vaccine contains live but weakened flu viruses that do not cause flu in children. It will help your child build up immunity to flu in a similar way as natural infection, but without the symptoms.
  • The main flu viruses change each year, so a new nasal spray vaccine must be given each year, in the same way as the injectable flu vaccine.
  • It may take 10 -14 days for your child’s immunity to build up fully after they have had the flu vaccine.
  • Most children need only one dose of the vaccine each year. In certain circumstances children may need a second dose of the vaccine, and those doses are given four weeks apart. Talk to our CarePlus Pharmacist for more advice.

    What You Need to Do Before the Flu Vaccination?

  • Book an Appointment: This year at CarePlus Pharmacy we are recommending that you book your appointment beforehand, this can be booked via the CarePlus Pharmacy app or website.
  • Complete Patient Questionnaire: We have added a patient questionnaire that you need to complete when booking on the CarePlus Pharmacy app or website, and it is best that this is done in advance of your flu vaccination. If you cannot use one of these methods, we recommend you contact your nearest CarePlus Pharmacy and they will assist you in making the booking on your behalf and going through the questionnaire. 
  • Alternatively, the CarePlus Pharmacy team can give you the questionnaire to complete in advance. It is best this is handed in to the Pharmacy in advance of your flu vaccination to reduce the amount of time required in Pharmacy during your Flu vaccination appointment.

  • Face masks: We would ask that you wear a face mask to the appointment. We also request that you be on your own when coming for your appointment (unless you are accompanying a child aged under 16).
  • Clothing: When it comes to preparing for your appointment, you should wear loose clothing that is appropriate for a vaccination to be administered to your upper arm.
  • Be Punctual: We would ask that you arrive on time. If you arrive too early you may be asked to return closer to your allotted time.
  • Infants and Children. For infants and children getting the vaccination especially for the first time can be daunting, we would recommend you bring something familiar or comforting to distract them. It is also a good idea to talk about face coverings to them beforehand, so they are not unfamiliar on the day.
  • We ask that on the day of your appointment if you or your child have symptoms of COVID-19 you should cancel and rebook.

    You may be asked to wait in an allocated waiting area to maintain social distancing.

    What to Expect on the Day of Flu Vaccination?

    Upon arriving for your Flu Vaccination appointment, our highly trained Pharmacy team will invite you into our private consultation room when ready to proceed. We would ask where possible that children only accompany you when they are being vaccinated themselves.

    When you or your child arrive for the appointment you may be asked a short series of questions to confirm that you or your child do not have any Covid-19 symptoms and that you or your child are not a close contact of a confirmed or suspected Covid-19 case.

    Once you are happy to proceed, the Pharmacist will administer the vaccine. This is a quick and relatively painless procedure and the vaccination itself should only take a few minutes.

    After your vaccination you and/or your child will be requested to wait in a designated area of the pharmacy for 15 minutes but to maintain a social distance.

    Children

  • May be asked to have your child's temperature checked before proceeding (contactless infrared thermometer).
  • Parents of younger children will be asked to hold the child while the Pharmacist administers the nasal vaccine.
  • For the nasal spray flu vaccine, a spray will be given into each nostril.
  • If your child requires a second dose of the vaccine, we recommend booking your child’s follow up appointment while in the Pharmacy.
  • Children under the age of 16 years will need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian and give consent on their behalf.
  • If your child is under 3 years of age and requires the injectable flu vaccine, the Pharmacist will ask you to hold your child and expose their outer thigh, whilst holding them steady for vaccination.
  • Children over the age of 3 years that require the injectable vaccine, will be required to expose their upper arm for vaccination
  • Children over 13 years are recommended to wear a face covering/mask.
  • Paracetamol is not necessary to be given before vaccination.
  • Adults

  • Face covering/mask must be worn for the vaccination
  • You may be asked to get your temperature checked before proceeding.
  • The prefilled questionnaire form will need to be signed to confirm consent, you are feeling well and happy to proceed.
  • What Are the Possible Side-Effects?

    Quadrivalent Injection (Inactivated Influenza Vaccine)

    Most people do not have any problems after receiving the seasonal injectable flu vaccine. However, occasionally people develop side effects after being vaccinated. Most of the side effects are not serious, will disappear on their own and do not last long.

    The most common side effects are mild and include:

  • Skin reactions such as soreness, redness, swelling and bruising at the injection site.
  • Headache, fever, aches, pains, and fatigue can occur
  • Feeling unwell, mild sweating and shivering which will pass. This is your immune system responding to the vaccine.
  • Serious reactions are very rare. You should seek medical advice if you or your child experience any of these symptoms:

  • Severe allergic reactions (hives, itching, difficulty breathing, weak or rapid pulse).
  • Nerve pain and inflammation.
  • Numbness, tingling, fits.
  • Other rare but serious reactions may include thrombocytopenia (blood disorder), vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels) or rare nerve disorders.

    Fluenz Tetra Nasal Spray (Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine)

    The viruses in the nasal spray flu vaccine are weakened and do not cause the severe symptoms often associated with the flu virus.

    The most common side effects are mild and include:

  • Runny or Blocked Nose
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • General Tiredness
  • Loss of appetite
  • If these problems occur, they are usually mild and go away on their own, but serious reactions are also possible. Most people who receive the flu vaccine have no serious problems with it.

    Serious reactions are very rare. You should seek medical advice if your child experience any of these symptoms:

  • Hypersensitivity reactions (including facial swelling, hives, and very rare anaphylactic reactions)
  • Difficulty breathing/ shortness of breath
  • Nerve pain and inflammation
  • Numbness, tingling, fits
  • Who is Eligible for A Free Flu Vaccine?

    Administration of the flu vaccine is free to anybody who belongs to one of the at-risk groups listed below:

  • Children aged 2-12 years
  • Anybody aged 65 and over
  • Anybody with a long-term medical condition such as diabetes, chronic heart liver and kidney disease, chronic lung disease including COPD, or neurological diseases
  • Anybody with cancer
  • Anybody with down syndrome
  • Anybody whose immune system is impaired due to disease or treatment including family members
  • Anybody with a body mass index (BMI) over 40
  • All pregnant women, at any stage of pregnancy
  • Healthcare workers
  • Carers and household contacts of people at increased risk of flu because of medical conditions
  • Residents of nursing homes and long stay institutions
  • Anybody with regular close contact with poultry, waterfowl, or pigs
  • Eligibility criteria are subject to change by the HSE, ask your local CarePlus Pharmacy for further details.

    How Much Does this Service Cost?

    The price of the flu vaccination varies based on the vaccine you will receive, your age, your medical history. Please talk to your local CarePlus Pharmacy team as you or your child may be eligible for a FREE vaccine, others may be subject to charge.

    For more information about influenza and immunisation visit our FAQ page

    Flu is a highly contagious viral infection that can cause severe illness and life-threatening complications. It is spread by contact with respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

    Symptoms of flu can include fever, muscle and joint pain, extreme exhaustion, chills, sore throat, and a stuffy nose. These symptoms can last 1-2 weeks. It is estimated that flu contributes to 200-500 deaths in Ireland each year. The most common symptoms of flu include:

    Flu can lead to other complications such as:

    • Sinus or ear infections
    • Inflammation of the heart (myocarditis)
    • Brain (encephalitis) or muscle tissues (myositis, rhabdomyolysis)
    • More severe issues such as pneumonia

    The ideal time to get the flu vaccination in Ireland is September to October before flu starts circulating, but even if it is later it is always worth getting vaccinated. The flu season lasts until the end of April.

    To give you the most protection from catching flu, you should get the seasonal flu vaccine every year.

    We would recommend booking your flu vaccination, this can be done on by downloading the CarePlus App, on the CarePlus website or calling your nearest CarePlus pharmacy who can assist you on completing your booking. On the CarePlus App and website as part of booking flu vaccination service you will be required to complete a pre-vaccination patient questionnaire. This is to help limit the amount of time required for you/attendee to be in the pharmacy which is in line with current health and safety guidelines.

    Please contact the CarePlus Pharmacy directly where you have made the appointment for the flu vaccination and a healthcare advisor will assist you on cancelling.

    Administration of the vaccine is relatively quick, but you will be advised to wait in the pharmacy for 15 minutes after vaccination to be observed for any serious adverse reaction such as anaphylaxis.

    We allot 30 minutes for each vaccination to allow for the necessary cleaning and sanitisation on the consultation room before and after each customer.

    Vaccination guidelines recommends that following administration of a vaccine, a patient should remain in the pharmacy for at least 15 minutes in case they have an allergic reaction and need urgent medical care. This applies because of the very rare possibility of anaphylaxis, with most cases occurring less than 5 minutes after vaccine administration.

    If, having considered the above, it is not possible to remain on the premises for the full 15 minutes, due to potential risk of exposure to COVID-19:

    • You should remain on the pharmacy premises for at least the first 5 minutes after vaccination, as this is the time that the majority of adverse reactions occur.
    • You can then leave the premises and remain in the vicinity for the remaining minutes.

    This should only be done if there is another adult present with you in case of emergency.  

    Anaphylaxis is a rare and potentially life-threatening severe systemic (whole body) allergic reaction. It is usually of rapid onset and can potentially occurring within minutes of administration of a vaccine.

    Symptoms can include:

    • Low blood pressure
    • Constriction of your airways and a swollen tongue or throat, which can cause wheezing and trouble breathing
    • Hive like (Urticarial) lesions & itching
    • Sense of impending doom
    • Flushed sweating cold skin
    • Weak and rapid pulse
    • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
    • Dizziness or fainting

    If you or the person(s) vaccinated experience any of these symptoms seek emergency medical help immediately, do not wait to see if the symptoms go away.

    Flu is a highly contagious viral infection that is spread by contact with respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Direct contact with these droplets into the nose, mouth or eyes can cause a person to become infected with flu. Other causes are indirect contact via contaminated surfaces (e.g. tabletops, door handles, pens, cups etc.)

    There are a range of preventative measures to reduce the risk of getting and spreading flu:

    • Annual immunisation each year prior to the peak of the flu season.
    • Good hand hygiene, including regular and thorough hand washing with soap or hand sanitiser to reduce the spread of the virus.
    • Coughing etiquette, including the use of a tissue to cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing, and disposing of the tissue immediately. If you do not have a tissue, cough, or sneeze into your elbow. After coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose, ensure appropriate hand washing or hand sanitiser techniques are followed.
    • Stay at home while you are unwell. In particular, avoid going to work or school or visiting busy public places.
    • Avoid sharing linens, eating utensils and dishes.

    Colds and flu are both caused by viruses and have some overlapping symptoms but differ in the appearance, duration, and severity of symptoms. Colds come on gradually over a few days and are milder with more nasal symptoms such as a stuffy or runny nose and sneezing. Symptoms generally last a few days to a week (but can last longer). Flu generally comes on quickly and can be severe causing high fever, muscle aches, shivering and extreme exhaustion. Flu can cause serious complications, particularly in children, the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions, which is why flu is a more serious concern than the common cold.

    Annual vaccination is the most effective way to reduce the risk of getting flu and reduce the spread of the virus in the community. Therefore, getting a flu vaccine protects you and those who are more vulnerable to severe complications associated with flu.

    Everyone from 6 months of age and older should get the flu vaccine every season with rare exceptions. Vaccination to prevent flu is particularly important for people who are at high risk of developing serious flu complications.

    While everyone from 6 months and older should consider getting a flu vaccine, it is especially important that the following groups get vaccinated:

    • Children aged 2 years to 12 years
    • Anybody aged 50 years and over
    • Pregnant women (flu vaccine is safe at any stage of pregnancy)
    • Anybody (adults and children) with long-term medical conditions such as diabetes; chronic heart, liver, and kidney disease; chronic lung disease including COPD, or neurological diseases
    • Children on long-term aspirin therapy (because of the risk of Reye syndrome
    • Anybody with cancer
    • Anybody whose immune system is impaired due to disease or treatment, including family members
    • Anybody who is obese who have a body mass index (BMI) of over 40
    • Anybody with Down syndrome
    • Residents of nursing homes and other long-stay institutions
    • Healthcare workers
    • Carers and household contacts of people at increased risk of flu because of medical conditions
    • Anybody with regular close contact with poultry, waterfowl, or pigs
    • Anybody who wishes to reduce their own or their child’s risk of infection may choose the flu vaccine for themselves and/or their child.

    Different flu vaccines are approved for use in different age groups. In addition, some vaccines are not recommended for certain groups of people. Factors that can determine a person’s suitability for vaccination, or vaccination with a particular vaccine, include a person’s age, health (current and past) and any allergies to the flu vaccine or its components.

    The Quadrivalent flu vaccine should not be given to:

    • Anybody with a history of an allergic reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine or any of its constituents
    • Anybody taking medicines called combination checkpoint inhibitors (e.g. ipilimumab plus nivolumab).
    • Anybody with severe neutropoenia (absolute neutrophil count <0.5 × 109/L) should not receive any vaccines, to avoid an acute vaccine related febrile episode.
    • Anybody who has an egg allergy; they must be referred to their GP to be vaccinated.
    • Anybody unwell with a high temperature of more than 38°C, will need to have their vaccination postponed.

    The Fluenz Tetra nasal spray flu vaccine should not be given to:

    • Any child under 24 months
    • Any child with a severely weakened immune system
    • Any child with a severe egg allergy with anaphylaxis that is led to intensive care hospital admission
    • Any child with severe asthma, that is, those being treated with steroid tablets or who have needed intensive care because of their asthma
    • Any child who is currently wheezy or have been wheezy in the past 72 hours
    • Any child with an allergy to any of the vaccine ingredients, such as neomycin
    • Any child who has a condition that requires salicylate (aspirin) treatment
    • Pregnancy
    • Any child who has taken influenza antiviral medication within the previous 48 hours
    • Any child with severe neutropoenia (absolute neutrophil count <0.5 × 109/L) should not receive any vaccines, to avoid an acute vaccine related febrile episode.

     If any of the above apply to you, please speak with your pharmacist or doctor. If you have a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome, it is recommended that you receive your flu vaccination from your regular GP.

    It may take 10 to 14 days for the vaccine to become effective and the body to develop immunity after vaccination.

    Most people should receive 1 dose of flu vaccine each year.

    However, the following people should receive 2 doses, 4 weeks apart:

    • Children aged between 6 months and 9 years receiving flu vaccine for the first time, in an at-risk group, or who’s vaccination history is unknown
    • Children aged 9 years and older post-transplant

    It is important to get the flu vaccination every year because:

    • The virus is constantly changing, and the vaccine changes every year to ensure protection against the most recent and common circulating strains
    • Your immune protection from the flu vaccination declines over time.

    Every flu season is different as the circulating flu virus strains change every year. Therefore a new flu vaccine is needed every year. 

    This year’s flu Vaccine will be made available in two presentations depending on age and certain criteria:

    1. Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine (Inactive injectable vaccine):
    2. Fluenz Tetra Intranasal Spray (Live attenuated nasal suspension):

    This is the current recommendation from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee.

    Side effects of the flu vaccine are generally mild and short term (normally lasting no more than 48 hours).

    Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine:

    • Drowsiness or tiredness
    • Muscle aches
    • Localised pain, redness and swelling at the injection site
    • A small, hard lump (nodule) at the injection-site (can last 1-2 weeks)
    • Low-grade temperature (fever), which may be managed with paracetamol.

    Fluenz Tetra Nasal Spray Suspension:

    • Blocked or runny nose
    • Headache & Muscle pain
    • Reduced appetite
    • Fever
    • General feeling of unwell

    In more severe cases an adverse reaction can lead to anaphylaxis which and cause swelling, difficulty breathing and loss of consciousness. If you are concerned that your side effects are severe or persistent please contact your GP, or your nearest hospital emergency department immediately.

    The flu vaccine is safe to use in pregnant women. The Health Service Executive (HSE) strongly recommends flu vaccination for women who are pregnant or breast-feeding as it provides protection against flu for the mother and the baby in early infancy. The HSE provides free flu vaccine to pregnant women.

    No, the flu vaccine will not give you flu and is safe to use in pregnancy.

    Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine

    No, the flu vaccination only contains inactive particles of flu viruses so it cannot cause flu.

    Fluenz Tetra Nasal Spray Suspension

    No, the viruses in nasal spray flu vaccines are weakened and do not cause the severe symptoms often associated with the flu virus. Since live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) contains live attenuated viruses, it mimics natural infection, which induces more durable immune memory (thereby offering better long-term protection to children than inactivated influenza vaccine).

    If you get flu immediately after receiving the flu vaccination it is likely to be because the vaccination has not yet become fully effective as it takes 10 to 14 days for the vaccine to fully take effect.

    The flu virus is constantly changing, and the vaccine changes every year to ensure protection against the most recent and common circulating strains. The formulation of flu vaccines used in Ireland is determined each year based on information and recommendations from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

    You can get your flu vaccine at your local CarePlus Pharmacy or your local GP.

    The flu vaccine provides the best protection available against flu, however the vaccine is not 100% effective, and effectiveness can vary from year to year and amongst different patient groups.