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HSE lines up vaccine for upcoming influenza season

Vaccine is to be made available at the start of next flu season in September

Dr Tony Cox

The 2020/2021 influenza season is due to commence in September and a vaccine is to be made available then, the Health Service Executive (HSE) has confirmed.

The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) is seeking to hold discussions with the HSE about the delivery of population-based vaccines for the flu season later this year.

Dr Tony Cox, Medical Director of the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP), said the College would liaise with Public Health on the rollout of vaccinations in the coming months.

According to the HSE, the flu vaccine is to be administered by a spectrum of healthcare professionals including general practitioners, pharmacists, and occupational health.

Free flu vaccination is to be extended to all children aged from two to 12 years inclusive this season.

Labour Party leader and Health Spokesperson, Deputy Alan Kelly, has described the decision by the Government not to extend the flu vaccine to all citizens for free as “disappointing”.

This year, of all years, free flu vaccine must be provided to all citizens, he believed, if Ireland was to minimise the pressure on hospital emergency departments created every year by the flu.

The World Health Organization recommendation for the composition of the egg-based quadrivalent vaccine for 2020/21 influenza season is an A/Guangdong-Maonan/SWL1536/2019 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus; an A/Hong Kong/2671/2019 (H3N2)-like virus; a B/Washington/02/2019 (B/Victoria lineage)-like virus; and a B/Phuket/3073/2013 (B/Yamagata lineage)-like virus.

During the 2019/2020 season to date, 104 deaths have been reported to the HPSC in notified influenza cases, according to the latest Influenza Surveillance in Ireland – Weekly Report. Ireland switched over to egg-based quadrivalent vaccines from trivalent vaccines last year for the 2019/20 flu season.


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