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    1 Flu Vaccine for "at Risk" Groups Aged 2 Years & Over (HSE)

    Flu vaccine for anyone aged 65 years & over, those aged 2 & over in the HSE "at-risk" group, Pregnant women, Healthcare workers and carers for those as risk

    2 Adult Flu Vaccine 18 -64 Years Private

    For adults aged 18-64 years who do not meet the HSE "at-risk" criteria for a free vaccination (this is a private service subject to charge)

    The seasonal 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.

    Our CarePlus Pharmacy Seasonal Flu Vaccination Service is a simple and convenient way to help protect against the flu.

    Book NOW with your local CarePlus Pharmacy to get your flu vaccine.

    You can book an appointment or register on the waitlist for vaccines online for selected CarePlus Pharmacies* by clicking on the “Book” button, or alternatively you book an appointment in store or by calling the pharmacy.


     

    *Registering your interest does not guarantee a Seasonal Flu Vaccination Service appointment or vaccination. Appointment availability subject to stock and pharmacist vaccinator availability and eligibility criteria. Selected CarePlus Pharmacies only.

    For 2022/2023 flu season, there will be two different vaccines used in the HSE Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Programme:

    • Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine (split virion, inactivated) 
    • Fluenz Tetra Nasal Spray Suspension Influenza Vaccine (live attenuated, nasal

    Who Should Get the Seasonal Flu Vaccine?

    Flu is more severe in people aged 65 years and over, pregnant women, and anyone with a long-term medical condition. The HSE is urging people in at-risk groups and children 2-17 years to get the flu vaccine.

    It is especially important that the following at risk groups get vaccinated:

    • Anybody aged 65 years and over
    • Pregnant women
    • Children aged 2 to 17 years inclusive
    • Anybody aged 6 months or older with a long-term health condition like:
      • 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
      • haemoglobinopathies
      • morbid obesity i.e., body mass index (BMI) over 40
      • immunosuppression due to disease or treatment (including treatment for cancer)
      • are a child with a moderate to severe neurodevelopmental disorder such as cerebral palsy
    • 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

    Who Should NOT Get the Flu Vaccine Injection?

    • Anybody with a history of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to a previous dose of flu vaccine or with an allergy to any of the vaccine ingredients
    • Anybody taking medicines called combination checkpoint inhibitors (e.g., ipilimumab plus nivolumab) should not receive the flu vaccine because of a possible risk of immune reactions
    • Anybody who has severe neutropoenia (low levels of a type of white blood cell)
    • Anybody with an egg or chicken protein allergy must see their GP to be vaccinated or may need to be referred to a hospital specialist
    • Anybody who is unwell with a high temperature of more than 38°C, vaccination will have to be postponed

    Who Should NOT Get the Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine?

    • Any child who has had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of the flu vaccine or any of its ingredients
    • Any child who has severe asthma or if they have been wheezy or needed their inhaler more than usual in the 3 days before the vaccination
    • Any child taking medicines called salicylates, which include aspirin
    • Any child who has taken influenza antiviral medication within the previous 48 hours
    • Any child who has a severely weakened immune system because of certain medical conditions or treatments
    • Any child living with someone who has a severely weakened immune system - for example, a person who must live in insolation in the months following a bone marrow transplant
    • Any child who has a condition which means they have a leak of the CSF (the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord)
    • Any child with severe neutropoenia (low levels of a type of white blood cell) 
    • Any child on combination checkpoint inhibitors (e.g., ipilimumab plus nivolumab) which are used to treat cancer
    • Anybody who is pregnant

    If your child cannot have the nasal spray flu vaccine, you should speak to your GP or your CarePlus Pharmacist about getting the vaccine as an injection.

    If your child is 6 months to 2 years of age and is in a high-risk group for flu, they'll be offered a flu vaccine injection. This is because the nasal spray is not suitable for children under the age of 2.

    When Should You Delay Getting the Flu Vaccine?

    There are very few reasons why getting the flu vaccine should be delayed. You may have to delay getting the flu vaccine if you are unwell – with a high temperature of more than 38°C – until you are better.

    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.

    Getting the Flu Vaccine and your Appointment

    COVID-19 Health Screen Prior to Appointment:

    • Please do not attend your appointment if:
    • You have any current symptoms of COVID-19 or
    • Have been told you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 or
    • Have been told you should isolate

    Appointment Times:

    • You should allow up to 20 minutes for your vaccination appointment. After getting the vaccine, you will be advised to be observed for 15 minutes.
    • You will be sent a reminder prior to your appointment
    • If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment, please do via the email link r contact your local CarePlus Pharmacy as soon as you can
    • Adults should arrive for their vaccination unaccompanied where possible. For Children they will need to be accompanied by their parent or legal guardian or an adult who is eligible to give legal consent Who can give consent for vaccination of a young person aged under 16 years?

    On the Day of your Vaccine Appointment:

    • Please wear a loose-fitting top so that your upper arm is easily accessible (if applicable)
    • Wear a face covering

    Following your Flu Vaccination:

    • We ensure that you/the patient is feeling well and is advised to wait for 15 minutes in the vicinity of the pharmacy in case of any major adverse reactions, as we are trained to deal with such situations.
    • All patients will receive a Vaccine Record Card upon leaving. If details are provided, we will notify your GP within 7 days, that you/the patient has received the influenza vaccine. The HSE will also be notified within 7 days.

    Side Effects

    • The most common side effects are mild and short in duration. You/patient may develop soreness, redness, or swelling at the injection site. If necessary, these symptoms can be treated with an ice pack or simple analgesics, e.g., paracetamol or ibuprofen.
    • Mild symptoms such as headache, fever, aches, tiredness, mild sweating, and shivering may occur, generally within 6 to 12 hours of vaccination and lasting 48 hours. People confuse these symptoms with the flu, but it is the body responding to the vaccine. These symptoms may be treated with paracetamol or ibuprofen.

    For more information see below about flu, visit our FAQ page or download our CarePlus Pharmacy flu vaccine leaflets

    Where can I get more information?

    Patient Information Leaflets

    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.