Saturday 10 December 2016

Flu could kill 1,000 in winter - HSE

Published 03/10/2016 | 02:30

Dr Brenda Corcoran, Head of the HSE’s National Immunisation Office, said the vaccine is the only defence against flu. Stock Image
Dr Brenda Corcoran, Head of the HSE’s National Immunisation Office, said the vaccine is the only defence against flu. Stock Image

The HSE has warned that flu could kill 1,000 people this winter and 'at risk' groups should ensure that they get the jab.

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Dr Brenda Corcoran, Head of the HSE's National Immunisation Office, said the vaccine is the only defence against flu.

Yet every year many people in the most vulnerable groups fail to get vaccinated and so put themselves at risk of serious illness or even death.

The vaccine reduces infection and associated illnesses and hospitalisation.

The over-65s, people with chronic illness and pregnant women are among the risk groups who should get the vaccine.

Indications suggest that national uptake figures show that 55.4pc of people aged 65 and over who hold a medical card or GP visit card received the flu vaccine during the 2015-2016 flu season.

This uptake rate is lower than in the two previous seasons and less than the World Health Organisation target of 75pc.

The symptoms of flu usually develop over a matter of a few hours.

Symptoms include a high temperature, sore muscles, dry cough, headache and sore throat.

"Flu is very infectious and can cause potentially serious illnesses especially for older people, those who have a chronic illness, those with weakened immune systems and pregnant women," Dr Brenda Corcoran said.

She added: "Seasonal flu vaccine can be given at any stage of pregnancy and also protects the baby."

Irish Independent

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