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We are nearing the end of  the flu and Covid vaccine clinics, but you can still receive one or both vaccines by calling the surgery to arrange an appointment. 

Influenza Vaccination Programme 2023/24 Annual influenza (flu) vaccination is strongly recommended for those aged 65 and older, those at risk and children aged 2-12* years. 

This year's seasonal flu vaccine contains protection against 4 strains of flu virus. These are recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the strains most likely to be circulating this season.

The four strains for the 2023/2024 flu season are:

  • an A/Victoria/2570/2019 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;

  • an A/Darwin/9/2021 (H3N2)-like virus;

  • a B/Austria/1359417/2021 (B/Victoria lineage)-like virus; and

  • a B/Phuket/3073/2013 (B/Yamagata lineage)-like virus

Inactivated quadrivalent influenza vaccine (QIV) is now available for all eligible populations.( see below). If you are eligible for Flu vaccine, it MAY also be advisable for you to get Pneumococcal vaccination.  (check below or please enquire when you are attending for flu vaccine.) 

A nasal flu vaccine for children will also be available  for children aged 2-12. If your child is not elligible for the nasl flu vaccine they can avail of the injectiable vaccine instead.  

Eligible Groups for 2023/24 HSE Influenza vaccination programme

Who can get a free flu vaccine

You can get a free flu vaccine if you are:

People with these conditions can also get a free flu vaccine:

  • chronic heart disease, including acute coronary syndrome

  • chronic liver disease

  • chronic kidney failure

  • chronic respiratory disease, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, moderate or severe asthma, or bronchopulmonary dysplasia

  • chronic neurological disease including multiple sclerosis, hereditary and degenerative disorders of the central nervous system

  • diabetes

  • Down syndrome

  • haemoglobinopathies

  • a body mass index (BMI) over 40

  • immunosuppression due to disease or treatment (including asplenia or hyposplenism, and all cancer patients)

  • children with a moderate to severe neurodevelopmental disorder such as cerebral palsy

  • children on long-term aspirin therapy

  • any condition that can compromise respiratory function, like spinal cord injury, seizure disorder or other neuromuscular disorder, especially people also attending special schools or day centres

Free flu vaccines will be offered to carers or household contacts of people who have:

  • a health condition listed above

  • Down syndrom



Child flu vaccine  

**Now finished for 2023/2024**


Why children should get the flu vaccine every year

The flu vaccine helps to protect children against flu. Most children who get the flu have mild symptoms. But children and young people with chronic health conditions are at risk of serious complications from flu.

In some children, flu can lead to serious problems such as:

  • pneumonia

  • bronchitis

  • inflammation of the brain (encephalitis

Children with these complications may need hospital treatment. Some may need intensive care. In the last 10 years in Ireland, almost 5,000 children were admitted to hospital with complications of flu. Almost 200 children had treatment in intensive care and 40 children died.  Children can catch and spread flu easily. The children's flu vaccine can help to prevent the spread of flu in schools and at home. This keeps everyone safe.

Type of vaccine for children

Children will get a nasal spray vaccine. It's called the live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) nasal spray vaccine.

It's known by the brand name Fluenz Tetra and manufactured by AstraZeneca AB.

This flu vaccine is approved for children aged 2 to 17 years.

If your child is under 2 years and at risk of complications from flu, they can get a different type of flu vaccine by injection instead of the nasal spray.

Most children only need 1 dose of the vaccine each flu season. Some children aged 2 to 8 years with chronic health conditions may need 2 doses if they have never had the flu vaccine before. The doses are given 4 weeks apart.

How the nasal flu vaccine is given

The vaccine is given as a spray in each nostril. It is not painful and is absorbed quickly. If your child sneezes or blows their nose after vaccination, the vaccine dose does not need to be repeated. It takes 2 weeks for the vaccine to work.

Most children are suitable to get the nasal flu vaccine but there are a few exceptions for children with serious medical problems. 

Who should not get the nasal flu vaccine

Your child should not get the vaccine if they:

  • have had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of the flu vaccine or any of its ingredients

  • have severe asthma or if they have been wheezy or needed their inhaler more than usual in the 3 days before the vaccination

  • are taking medicines called salicylates, which include aspirin

  • have taken influenza antiviral medication within the previous 48 hours

  • have a severely weakened immune system because of certain medical conditions or treatments

  • are living with someone who has a severely weakened immune system - for example, a person who has to live in insolation in the months following a bone marrow transplant

  • have severe neutropoenia (low levels of a type of white blood cell)

  • are on combination checkpoint inhibitors, for example ipilumumab plus nivolumab, which are used to treat cancer

  • have a cranial cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak

  • Your child may not be able to have the nasal flu vaccine if they have had a cochlear implant.

  • Get specialist advice if your child needs regular oral steroids or they have previously needed ICU care for asthma.


All vaccines are tested to make sure they will not harm you or your child.

The nasal flu vaccine is very safe and has been given to millions of children around the world.

It has been given to children in:

  • the US since 2003

  • the UK since 2013

  • Ireland since 2020

It's safe for children to get the nasal flu vaccine at the same time, before, or after any of the vaccines that may be offered to them. This includes their school vaccines or COVID-19 vaccines.

Delay your child's flu vaccine if they:

  • are unwell and have a high temperature - wait until they feel better

  • have a very blocked or runny nose - wait until their nose is clear


There is a very small amount of gelatin in the nasal flu vaccine. Gelatin is used as a preservative in the vaccine.

The Irish Council of Imams have said that it is OK for Muslims to have vaccines containing gelatin.

There is no thiomersal, aluminium or mercury in the flu vaccines we use.

Side effects

Your child might have some mild side effects after their vaccine. Some of the side effects can be similar to flu. But they will not get the flu from the nasal flu vaccine.

Serious side effects such as a severe allergic reaction are rare.

The most common side effects are mild and include:

  • headache

  • runny or blocked nose

  • muscle aches

  • tiredness

  • loss of appetite

Some children get a fever (high temperature) after the vaccine. It is usually mild and goes away on its own.

If your child has a headache, you can give them paracetamol or ibuprofen. These side effects should go away in a day or 2.


Never give your child aspirin or any medicines that contain aspirin unless your GP prescribes them. This is especially important in the 4 weeks after getting the flu vaccine.

In very rare cases, Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) has been reported. GBS is a condition that affects the nerves in the body. It causes nerve inflammation and can cause pain, numbness, muscle weakness and difficulty walking. The risk of GBS after having the flu is greater than after getting the flu vaccine.


Generally, flu vaccines reduce the risk of infection by 40% to 60%. But even if your child gets the vaccine, they could still get the flu. This is because the vaccine does not protect against 100% of infections.

If your child does not get the flu vaccine, they should take extra care to protect themselves from flu.

For more infomation on the FLUENZ childrens flu vaccine click here

HSE  information on flu vaccination for children


PNEUMOCOCCAL VACCINATION (PPV23)  ( free with GMS/Doctor visit card. 25e for private patients) 

Who should be vaccinated with PPV23?

Pneumococcal disease is a very serious disease. It is a major cause of illness and death, particularly amongst the very young. Those with the following conditions should be vaccinated with PPV23.


Everybody aged 65 years and over - only one dose is required for life cover.  

All ages with;    (may need a second dose after 5 years -  check with your doctor) 

  • Diabetes

  • Chronic lung, heart, liver, or kidney disease

  • Chronic neurological disease

  • Coeliac disease

  • Down Syndrome

  • Cochlear implants or are about to get cochlear implants

  • Immune deficiency because of a disease or treatment, including cancer patients

  • HIV infection

  • Absent spleen or a non-functioning spleen

  • CSF leaks, either congenital or complicating skull fractures or neurosurgery

  • Intracranial shunt.

PPV23 vaccination is not recommended for healthy children and adults as they are at low risk of pneumococcal disease.

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