Department of Public Health HSE, West and North West, is urging the children aged 2 to 17 years from Roscommon, Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo and Sligo to avail of their free nasal spray flu vaccine before the Christmas break.
The HSE is now offering a free nasal flu vaccine to include young adults aged 13-17, for the first time this year. This means all children and young adults between the ages of 2-17 can avail of their free flu vaccine.
The nasal vaccine is available from participating GP practices and pharmacies. The HSE continues to offer children in Senior Infants and all children in Primary Age Special Schools their free nasal spray flu vaccine in schools.
Dr Áine McNamara, Area Director of Public Health, Department of Public Health, HSE West and North West, says: “In the coming weeks and into the Christmas break we anticipate that flu, among other winter viruses, will begin to circulate more widely as we see an increase in socialising with friends and family over the holidays. In response to this, the HSE are extending the age limit for the children’s flu vaccine to include all those aged 13 to 17 years.
“We know children are twice as likely as adults to catch and spread flu and this poses a threat to them and others. Young children, in particular, are more likely than adults to be very sick from flu. Vaccinating children protects them – and their siblings, parents, grandparents and those who are vulnerable.”
“Before the Christmas rush make an appointment with your GP or local pharmacy for your child to avail of their free nasal spray flu vaccine.”
Children are given the nasal vaccine by spraying the vaccine once into each nostril. Children can breathe normally and many of them report that it tickles when being given. Getting the nasal spray flu vaccine is a safe, quick and pain free way to protect children from flu this winter.
Flu can cause serious illness in children. The number of laboratory confirmed influenza hospitalised cases in children aged 0-14 years for the 2022/2023 season was 1,274.
Symptoms of flu in children can include:
- High temperature
- Muscle pains
- Extreme tiredness
- The flu vaccine gives children the best protection against flu.
Visit Flu Finder for participating pharmacies including those in County Roscommon.