Know your rights: Flu vaccine

Question

I’m thinking of getting the flu vaccine. Can you tell me about this vaccine?

Answer

Influenza, usually known as the flu, is highly infectious and anyone can get it. However some groups are at greater risk of complications if they get the flu. This includes people over the age of 65, pregnant women and people who have a chronic medical condition.

The flu vaccine can help protect you from getting the flu. The flu virus changes every year and this is why there is a new vaccine each year. Vaccination is strongly recommended if you:

  • Are aged 65 or over
  • Have a long-term medical condition, for example, diabetes or chronic heart, kidney, liver, lung or neurological disease
  • Have an impaired immune system due to disease or treatment
  • Have a body mass index (BMI) over 40
  • Are pregnant
  • Live in a nursing home or other long-stay institution
  • Are a carer or a healthcare worker
  • Have regular contact with poultry, water fowl or pigs

If you are aged 18 or over, you can get the vaccine from your GP (family doctor) or pharmacist. Children can get the vaccine from a GP.

The vaccine itself is free of charge if you are in one of the recommended groups. However, doctors and pharmacists may charge a consultation fee when they give you the vaccine.

If you have a medical card or GP visit card, you can get the vaccine without being charged a consultation fee.

You can read more about the flu and the vaccine on hse.ie.