As visiting restrictions are eased this weekend, a Galway Senator has called on people to avail of the free winter flu nasal spray vaccine for children in the coming days and weeks.
Fine Gael Senator for Roscommon-Galway Aisling Dolan urged parents of children and teenagers to take up the nasal spray vaccine before socialising this Christmas.
The free vaccine was recently extended to include all children between the ages of two and 17 and will be administered through a single spray in each nostril rather than an injection.
“It’s free, easy and you are keeping your children safe,” said Senator Aisling Dolan. “Winter flu can have serious complications for children with pneumonia and bronchitis.
“To date since October, over 190,000 LAIV vaccines have been given to children aged from 2 to 12.
“Over 460,000 doses have been distributed to GPs and pharmacists and appointments for vaccination can be made immediately. I would urge families to avail of this free vaccine.”
Senator Dolan called on people to remain vigilant and adhere to social distancing over Christmas.
“It is important that we reduce our number of close contacts before going home to visit parents and grandparents as well as wearing masks and washing our hands.
“In addition, keeping a 2 metre distance from people will all be crucial to keeping everyone safe this Christmas & New Year.
“We do know that 2021 will be a better and brighter year and we will have access to a vaccine to combat Covid-19, however it will take many months to allow a full national roll-out.
“Every action we take will make a difference so plan ahead to keep people safe and have a safe and healthy Christmas with your closest loved ones.”
The vaccine is available from local GPs and medical centre as well as local pharmacists. Parents are asked to call ahead and make an appointment.
Niamh Murphy, Pharmacist at Murphy’s Total Health Medical Hall in Ballinasloe, is also urging people to get the flu vaccine.
“Flu is a highly contagious virus which is easily spread from person to person. Children are more likely than adults to suffer severe complications of winter flu.
“It’s important to protect children and adults over Christmas and you can do this by availing of the free nasal spray flu vaccine,” said Niamh.