Quadrivalent flu vaccine available for season start

IMO is seeking discussions with the HSE on the delivery of the population-based vaccines

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

Quadrivalent influenza vaccine is to be supplied by the HSE for the 2020/21 influenza season.

The flu clinics are to adhere to the Covid-19 Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) national guidance for relevant healthcare settings. This guidance is being developed and updated on an ongoing basis, adds the HSE.

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.

While Dr Tony Cox, Medical Director of the Irish College of General Practitioners said: “The planning for the winter flu vaccination season is the responsibility of public health. The Irish College of General Practitioners will 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 GPs, pharmacists, and occupational health.

Ireland switched over to egg-based quadrivalent vaccines from trivalent vaccines last year for the 2019/20 flu season.

The World Health Organization recommendation for the composition for the Northern Hemisphere 2020/21 flu vaccine has been backed by the European Medicines Agency.

The 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.

For the 2020 flu season, free vaccination has been extended, the vaccination to all children aged from two to 12 years inclusive. All of those in the HSE-defined at-risk groups, aged from six months to 69 years inclusive are eligible to access the vaccine without charge. All persons older than 70 already have access without charges.

During the week, May 11 to 17, no deaths in notified influenza cases were reported to the HPSC.

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”.

valerie.ryan@imt.ie

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