All Children will be Eligible for a Free Nasal Flu Vaccination Starting Next Week


The Health Service Executive voiced worry that a lack of vaccination uptake might be putting more strain on hospitals.

The HSE is implementing new measures that will provide a free flu vaccine to all children between the ages of two and seventeen.

Pharmacists across the nation have received letters from the HSE and Department of Health announcing the plans, which include expanding the number of younger individuals who will be eligible for the nasal flu vaccine.

According to the letter, “all children aged 2-17 years should be included in the cohort eligible for the free HSE nasal flu vaccine, as advised by the Department of Health.”

“The HSE is advising all participating general practitioners and pharmacies to offer the free nasal spray flu vaccine to all children aged 2-17 for the remainder of the 2023/24 flu season starting on December 4th, 2023.”

Only kids between the ages of 2 and 12 and kids who were at risk between the ages of 13 and 17 could receive the free flu shot before this.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has released its most recent data, which shows that although respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) circulation is still high, influenza activity is stable. RSV hospital cases are still on the rise, with the youngest age group (less than one year) having the highest rates, followed by the 1-4 year age group. RSV is the primary cause of bronchiolitis in young children and also causes coughs and colds.

In addition, individuals over 65, healthcare professionals, nursing home residents, those with chronic illnesses, and expectant mothers should all get the flu shot.

Ahead of the holiday season, there is worry about an increase in flu and RSV cases. Health officials are eager to advocate for higher vaccination rates, especially for at-risk populations.

The week before last, there were 36% more cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) than the week before.

It was the worst time of year for hospitalisations due to the virus, with about 284 cases during that time.

The Health Service Executive voiced concern that hospitals may be under more strain as a result of low vaccination uptake.

This winter, 59% of people over 70 have received the flu shot, 18% of people 50 to 69 have received it, and just 9.5% of children in the other eligible age group—those two to twelve years old—have received it.

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