27 Sep 2021

Flu & the Flu Vaccine

Flu is an extremely infectious viral illness that affects the respiratory tract and can be life threatening. In winter months flu out-break is quite common and can cause many unwanted health complications or hospitalisation.

Although we did not see many cases of flu reported last year it is expected there will be more cases in the 2021/2022 winter season due to the increase in worldwide travel and the reduced Covid restrictions. The best way to protect you and your family is by getting the flu vaccine.

The Flu Vaccine is particularly recommended for certain groups - those aged over 65 years, children aged 2 to 17 years(nasal spray), pregnant women, and those from 18 to 65 years in the at-risk categories.

Call to one of our local pharmacies or check out your eligibility for a free flu vaccine on our website here.

This year there is a separate vaccine recommended for those over 65 years (Fluad tetra). This is proven to be more effective in this age group and is delivered in the same way as the other flu vaccine.

We are offering the flu vaccine in all our pharmacies and you can book your appointment in your local Hickey’s Pharmacy here.

When should I get the Flu Vaccine?

It takes your body 10 to 21 days to produce an immune response to the flu virus after getting the vaccine. Consequently, we recommend getting the flu vaccine as early as possible. If you have only recently had your Covid or Pneumonia vaccine (also available at Hickey’s Pharmacies) you can still get your flu vaccine.

Are there any side effects?

The vaccine does not give you the flu but you may have some mild side effects after the vaccine as your body’s immune system works to produce antibodies against the flu virus. The most common side effects are usually mild and include fever, shivering, muscle and joint aches and pains. Sometimes there can be pain swelling and bruising at the injection site. These side effects are usually self-limiting and can be managed by taking some paracetamol, getting rest and taking fluids.

Severe allergic reactions to the flu vaccine are rare. You will be asked to wait for 5 minutes in the pharmacy and for 10 minutes in the vicinity to enable our highly trained teams to assist you if you do experience a reaction to the vaccine.

Flu Vaccine for Children

Flu vaccination in children aged 2 to 17 years is delivered via a small nasal spray into each nostril. It is non-invasive and is not painful. It is still effective even if the child sneezes, blows their nose or has a runny nose after vaccination.

By vaccinating children, it helps reduce the risk of catching the seasonal flu and minimises absence from school or trips to the doctor. It reduces the risk of passing it onto vulnerable grandparents or those with underling illness. All children are entitled to a free vaccine.

Booking a Flu Vaccine

To receive your vaccine in one of our pharmacies you will have to make a booking, fill out a consent form and undergo Covid checks. We will be implementing social distancing measures in store to keep everyone safe, and it is a requirement for all those over 13 years to wear a face mask as per public health advice.

Our pharmacy team will be able to answer any questions you may have in relation to the vaccine - don’t hesitate to visit your local Hickey’s and speak to one of the team.