herald

Saturday 10 December 2016

Warning to get the jab as 500 die from flu each year

Research has shown the vaccine can reduce the risk of flu, which is responsible for between 200 and 500 deaths in Ireland each year.
Research has shown the vaccine can reduce the risk of flu, which is responsible for between 200 and 500 deaths in Ireland each year.

The flu kills up to 500 Irish people each year, with the elderly particularly vulnerable as winter approaches.

Research from the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) has identified the elderly as the most likely to die from flu-related illness.

As the flu season begins - October to April - the IPU has advised that as many people as possible get vaccinated.

It particularly wants older people and other at-risk patients to get the jab to protect themselves from serious illness or even death.

Research has shown the vaccine can reduce the risk of flu, which is responsible for between 200 and 500 deaths in Ireland each year.

These are mostly among people aged 65 and over.

Others in the at-risk category include pregnant women, people with chronic illnesses, healthcare workers and people in regular contact with pigs, poultry or water fowl.

The vaccine is available free of charge from pharmacists to those in the at-risk group who hold a medical card.

"Flu is an extremely contagious respiratory illness," said Bernard Duggan, honorary treasurer of the IPU.

"It can lead to serious illness, even death, particularly for elderly patients and those suffering from chronic illnesses or a weakened immune system.

"The flu vaccination is the best way to reduce the chances that a patient will get seasonal flu.

Vaccinated

"It is important that patients, especially high-risk patients, get the flu vaccine every year. The more people who get vaccinated, the less flu can spread through the community.

"We are encouraging as many people as possible to visit a pharmacy and get vaccinated," Mr Duggan added.

The IPU estimates that there are about one million patients at risk of flu in Ireland, but only half-a-million are usually vaccinated.

Out of those vaccinated last season, 23pc had not got the jab before, even though four-fifths of those were in the at-risk category.

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