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What is the flu?

The flu, which is also known as influenza, is a highly infectious respiratory disease caused by an influenza virus. Every individual can react differently to the virus varying from mild to severe symptoms such as, fever, chills, aches, sore throat, tiredness and headaches. If contracted it can be quite debilitating and takes an average of 6-10 days to recover. It most commonly occurs in the winter months.


What is the flu vaccine & how does it work?

The vaccine introduces a small dose of the flu into your body so you can build up immunity to the flu virus but note it does not contain a live virus so you can’t catch the flu from the vaccine. Its make-up is amended each year to keep up with new strains of the flu. The vaccine then reduces your risk of contracting the flu if you come into contact with someone who has the virus.

Who should get the vaccine?

The elderly, pregnant patients and those who are considered vulnerable patient groups. Currently Pharmacists can only administer flu vaccines to those aged 18 years and over.

See below for more info.

Who is entitled to a free flu vaccine?


It is FREE to all medical card, doctor visit cards (gp visit card)  & HAA card holders who fall into one of the below high risk groups:


  • Individuals 65 or over
  • Those with a long term medical condition, including, asthma, diabetes, COPD, cystic fibrosis, heart or lung disease, Liver disease, MS.
  • Cancer patients
  • Pregnant woman at all stages of pregnancy
  • Those with a disorder of the central nervous system
  • Down syndrome patients
  • Those with disorders of the immune system
  • Healthcare workers
  • Residents of nursing homes
  • Those with a BMI over 40
  • Those at close contact with pigs, poultry and water fowl
  • Those who live with someone at high risk of medical complications

The most common side effects will be mild and may include:
Swelling at injection site
Some people may also experience:
This is not the flu and will pass after a day or so.

If you are suffering from an acute illness and have a temperate over 38° you should reschedule your vaccination until you are well.

Common misconceptions with FLU VACCINE


“If i get the vaccine , sure i’ll get the flu”

This is simply not possible, the Flu vaccine is an inactive vaccine, therefore cannot give you the flu

“I got the vaccine last year, sure i’ll be grand this year”

This is not true. the flu vaccine changes every year due to the actual virus changing and adapting every year, hence at risk groups need to be vaccinated every year.

“My friend got the vaccine last year and she got the flu anyway”

In some cases the flu vaccine may not have fully worked, these cases are rare. it may also have been because the person contracted the flu prior to vaccine not giving the vaccine time to work. The vaccine itself does not cause the flu.


Flu Vaccinations are now available at ALL ROI McDaid Pharmacies

Get in contact with your local McDaids pharmacy to arrange your winter flu vaccination.


Available from 19th September 2019



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