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Free flu vaccine extended for children aged between 13 and 17

By Irish Pharmacist - 03rd Jan 2024

The Government has announced that the nasal spray flu vaccine will available free of charge to children aged 13 to 17 from 4 December 2023. The announcement means that all children aged two to 17 are now eligible for the flu vaccine as part of the 2023/2024 seasonal flu vaccination programme.

The nasal spray flu vaccine, which is available through GPs and pharmacies, and to some groups of children in the primary school setting, is a safe, quick, and pain-free way to protect children from flu this winter. The vaccine also reduces the risk of children transmitting infection to others, including older, more vulnerable people.

An injectable vaccine is available for other eligible groups including those aged 65 and over, individuals with a certain health condition, and healthcare workers.

As it takes two weeks for the full protective effects of the vaccine to kick in, all eligible people are encouraged to top up their protection as soon as possible.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said: “The nasal spray flu vaccine will help protect our children, our families and communities, keeping us safer and healthier throughout the winter months.”

Chief Medical Officer Professor Breda Smyth said: “Vaccines are the best means of protection available for us and for those who are vulnerable in our communities. When combined with measures such as hand washing, coughing, or sneezing into our elbows and staying at home when sick, the risk of contracting serious illness is reduced, and the burden on our health services is reduced.

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