Flu Vaccination Patient Information and Advice Leaflet

Flu Vaccination Service
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What is seasonal flu (influenza)?

Seasonal flu is a highly infectious viral illness of the respiratory tract that can be life threatening. Outbreaks of flu occur almost every year, usually in winter, which is why it is also known as seasonal flu. Everyone should consider getting an annual flu vaccine, but it is particularly recommended for certain groups, for example all persons over 65 years, all children aged 2-17, pregnant women or anyone 18 years over is one of the at risk categories mentioned below.

The Vaccine is available as an injection for persons ages 18 and over or a nasal spay for children 2-17.

Eligible at-risk groups for FREE Pharmacy Flu Vaccination*


  • The vaccine if free to everyone in the at-risk groups below.
  • At those aged 65 years older
  • All children aged 2-17 inclusive
  • All pregnant women (at any stage of pregnancy)
  • Chronic respiratory disease including cystic fibrosis, moderate or severe asthma, COPD
  • Chronic heart disease
  • Chronic renal (kidney) disease
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Haemoglobinopathies such as sickle cell anaemia
  • Chronis liver disease
  • Chronic neurological degenerative disorders including multiple sclerosis
  • Hereditary and degenerative disorders of the central nervous system etc.
  • Cancer patients
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long stay facilities
  • Children with conditions that compromise respiratory function e.g. spinal cord injury, seizure or other neuromuscular disorder
  • Morbid obesity i.e. Body Mass index over 40
  • Those who are immunosuppressed due to disease or treatment including those with missing or non-functioning spleens
  • Healthcare workers
  • Carers of persons with increased medical risk
  • Household contacts of persons with increased medical risk
  • People who have close, regular contact with pigs, poultry, or waterfowl
  • Down Syndrome
  • Children on long-term aspirin therapy

Additional COVID measures to protect you and your team

Facemasks are mandatory for persons aged 13 and over.

You will have your temperature checked and be asked to sanitize hands before you vaccination.

All patient forms will be completed outside at the consultation room to reduce the time spent int consultation room.

Our pharmacists will wear facemasks and always observe strict hygiene protocols.

*At risk groups and eligibility for free vaccination are subject to change by the HSE

How does the seasonal flu vaccine work?

Seasonal flu vaccine helps the persons immune system to produce antibodies to the flu virus. Being vaccinated is likely to provide protection against this year’s stain of flu; however there is still a small chance of catching the flu. The flu vaccine changes slightly depending on the common strains of flu virus, so ti is important to be vaccinated each year.

How long does it take to work?

After vaccination it takes 10-21 days to be protected against the flu. The flu vaccine cannot give you the flu.

How safe is flu vaccine?

Seasonal flu vaccines have been given for more that 60 years to millions of people worldwide. The children’s nasal spray has been available for 17 years and millions of children have been vaccinated safety and successfully. Reactions from flu vaccins are generally mild and serious side effects are very rare.

How is the children’s nasal spray vaccine given?

The vaccine is given as a small spray into each nostril of your child’s noose. Your child can breathe normally while getting the vaccine there in so need to take a deep breath or smiff. The vaccine is not painful. It will work even if your child has a runny nose, sneezes of blows their nose after the vaccination.

Who cannot get the flu vaccine from us?

If you are under 2, allergic to eggs, chicken, or any other ingredients in the flu vaccine, or have suffered a previous severe allergic reaction to vaccine to you and you should contact your GP for further advice. Immunocompromised patients may need to see their GP. Rarely, some combinations of medicines mean vaccines are not recommended – please inform the pharmacist of any medication you are taking. If you are feeling unwell today with a temperature greater than 37.5° C we will reschedule your vaccination.

Side effects?

The most common side effects of flu vaccination are mild and can include fever, feeling unwell, shivering, headache, sweating, muscle, and joint pain. For those who receive the injection mild skin reactions such as redness, swelling, pain, bruising and hardening of the skin at the injection site can occur. For children getting the nasal spray some nasal congestions of runny nose are common. Vaccine side effects are not the flu and symptoms will pass after a few days. Paracetamol can help to relieve these symptoms (always read the label).

Severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) are very rare. However, you will be asked to remain in the pharmacy for 15 minutes after vaccination (or at least 5 minutes in the pharmacy and the remainder of the time in the vicinity). If leaving the pharmacy early you should be accompanied by an adult who can assist you in returning to the pharmacy in the case of emergency. Signs of anaphylaxis usually appear within 15 minutes and may include rash, itching, hives, redness, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, swelling, shortness of the face, lips, throat, or tongue, cold, clammy skin, palpitations, dizziness, weakness, or fainting.

Refer to the patient information leaflets for a full list of side effects.


For more detailed information on the flu vaccine, including use in pregnancy and in children visit www.hse.ie/flu

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