Monday 22 January 2018

Increase in flu jab take-up

Pregnant women are in the high-risk category
Pregnant women are in the high-risk category

Some 25,000 more people in at-risk groups have had the flu vaccine this winter compared to last year.

The survey of people with a medical or GP visit card was carried out by the HSE.

Flu tends to spread more widely and affect more people over Christmas and the New Year because of increased travel and social gatherings.

Dr Brenda Corcoran, Head of the HSE National Immunisation Office, said that the increase in uptake of the flu vaccine was heartening.

But she urged thousands of others in at-risk groups who have not yet been vaccinated to get the vaccine.

"The vaccine reduces infection and associated illnesses and hospitalisation. 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.

"The seasonal flu vaccine can be given at any stage of pregnancy and also protects the baby.

"The flu vaccine cannot give you the flu as it does not contain any live flu virus. All those at risk should get vaccinated as soon as possible this year to make sure they are protected.

"The symptoms of flu usually develop over a matter of a few hours and include a high temperature, sore muscles, dry cough, headache and sore throat. Flu is different from the common cold, which tends to come on more gradually."

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