HSE’s Winter Vaccination Programme – Older people and at-risk groups urged to protect themselves against both flu and COVID-19 by getting their vaccines

Wednesday, 5th October 2021

HSE’s Winter Vaccination Programme

Older people and at-risk groups urged to protect themselves against both flu and COVID-19 by getting their vaccines

The HSE’s winter vaccination programme has gotten underway with the roll out of the free flu vaccine to recommended groups while those aged over 65 and all aged 12 and over with a weak immune system are invited for their next COVID-19 vaccine.

Monday 3rd of October, marked the rollout of the adapted bivalent vaccines. Three adapted bivalent mRNA COVID-19 vaccines have been recommended for use for booster vaccination by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC), following approval by the European Medicines Agency.

Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD said:

“As the weather becomes cooler and the nights become darker, all of our thoughts turn to how best we can protect ourselves and our loved ones from the worst impacts of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses that circulate at this time of year. I welcome today’s roll-out of the HSEs winter vaccination programme that will facilitate booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine and seasonal flu vaccines being administered at the same time in GPs and Pharmacies.

“15 Vaccination Centres across the country are also continuing to provide COVID-19 primary vaccines and 2nd and 3rd booster doses this winter.

We know that vaccines offer good protection from both COVID-19 and seasonal flu and urge everyone eligible to avail of this opportunity as soon as possible.”

Dr Aparna Keegan, Specialist in Public Health Medicine, HSE National Immunisation Office, said:

“This winter both the flu and COVID-19 viruses are expected to circulate. It is very important that all those who are invited, get both their free flu vaccine and COVID-19 booster vaccines. Flu and COVID-19 are caused by different viruses but both can cause serious illness. The flu vaccine does not protect against COVID-19.

“That is why it is important that if you have had a COVID-19 vaccine you should still get your free flu vaccine. Both Flu and COVID-19 vaccines will be available from participating GPs and Pharmacies and can be given at the same time.”

“COVID-19 primary and booster vaccines for people aged 12 or over are also available in the 15 vaccination centres across the country.

“The HSE is also reminding anyone who has not received their primary vaccine or their booster doses, or who has had COVID-19 and has had to wait 4 months for their booster to book an appointment as soon as possible.”


Dr Keith Ian Quintyne, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, HSE Public Health Area A said: “From October 17th the children’s flu nasal spray vaccine will also be available free for all children aged 2 to 17 years from GPs and Pharmacies. For children aged 5 to 11 who have not had their primary COVID-19 vaccination and for those with a weak immune system and due a booster dose, appointments are available at HSE vaccination centres by making an appointment on www.hse.ie

The HSE will continue to be active over the next few weeks in our services, in the media and online, encouraging people to come forward for both flu and COVID-19 vaccines. A multi-media advertising campaign encouraging all eligible groups to come forward for their recommended vaccines will be rolled out from this week on radio, press, TV, digital and social media.

To see what vaccines are recommended for you, visit www.hse.ie/covid19vaccine  and hse.ie/flu, call HSELive on 1800 700 700 or talk to a participating GP or Pharmacy.