Winter flu jab better matched this year to protect against all strains of virus
The odds of getting the flu could be reduced by 60pc for those who get the seasonal vaccine this winter, experts believe.
The vaccine this year is better matched to the flu strains which are expected to be circulating - unlike last year's jab, which had only partial protection against the H3N2 strain.
This led to a higher death toll among older people who were infected. There were 41 deaths from the virus officially reported in Ireland. The higher than normal number of deaths were reported in people over 65 from the beginning of the year. The average age of those who died was 81.
Dr Tom Frieden, director of the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, said that in most years, the vaccine was 50pc to 60pc effective.
This means that the odds of getting the flu are reduced by as much as 60pc if you get a flu shot.
The vaccine for the 2015-16 season contained the H3N2 strain, Dr Frieden said.
Last year's vaccine was only 13pc effective against the H3N2 strain.
In Ireland, rates of flu-like illness peaked at the end of February at 70.4 per 100,000 population, the highest peak rate since the winter of 2010 and 2011.