The HSE has today asked people to come forward to get their free flu vaccine is if is recommended for them.
The vaccine being offered to people aged over 65 is called Fluad Tetra which will help protect those most at risk of serious illness from flu.
Flu vaccines are recommended for people aged 65 and over, health care workers, children aged between 2 and 17, women who are pregnant, and people with certain medical conditions
The HSE says that people aged 65 and over are at higher risk of serious illness or complications such as pneumonia if they get the flu.
The vaccine contains an ingredient that stimulates the immune system, making it more effective against flu in people in older people.
It is being offered in Ireland for the first time this year, but a similar vaccine has been used for several years in various countries including the UK and USA.
Those aged 65 years and over can contact their GP or local pharmacy to make an appointment and those over 65 years who live in long-term residential care facilities will be offered this vaccine where they live.
The HSE says that flu vaccination is important for healthcare workers to protect themselves and to prevent the spread of the flu to colleagues, families and patients.
The majority of healthcare workers are being offered their flu vaccine at work or through some GPs and pharmacies.
Healthcare workers aged 65 or over can go to their GP or pharmacist to get the vaccine that is recommended for them.
Dr Aparna Keegan, Specialist in Public Health Medicine and Flu Lead, HSE National Immunisation Office, said that flu is a serious illness.
“Although the severity of the flu season can vary, we know that people aged 65 and over are most likely to impacted and have an increased likelihood of severe illness, being admitted into hospital or dying from flu when compared to the general population. The flu vaccine is the best protection against flu this winter,” said Dr Keegan.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly, added: “As we emerge from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is vital to remember that there are other viruses that can take an enormous toll upon the most at-risk in our society, as well as those working in our healthcare system.
“Flu is an unpleasant illness for the majority, but for some it is life-threatening, resulting in serious illness and hospitalisation. Regrettably, up to 500 people in Ireland die from this disease every year,” he said.
“This is why it is so important that, if you are eligible to get a flu vaccine, you do so as soon as it is offered to you. A flu vaccine will protect those aged over 65 from the very worst effects of flu.
“For healthcare workers, getting vaccinated means protecting themselves, their patients, and their families. Last year we saw encouraging uptake among healthcare workers and my hope is that this trend will continue this year.”