Government should consider free flu vaccines as part of winter planning
Labour Party Leader and Health spokesperson, Alan Kelly TD, has called on the Government to provide the winter flu vaccine for free to all citizens this year.
Deputy Kelly said:
“The IMO are rightly calling on the Government to start planning for the winter flu now.
“We cannot have a repeat of what has happened over the last four years, where the Government has published their winter initiative when it is already too late. With Covid-19 firmly on our minds, we need to have plan in place on how to help our health service cope with flu season on top of Covid.
“For the winter flu season ahead, the Government seriously needs to consider extending the flu vaccine to all of our citizens for free.
“If the Government is serious about reducing mayhem in our hospitals in the coming months, then they must take calls to extend the flu vaccine beyond the at-risk groups seriously. The medical evidence is clear, people who have been vaccinated and then get sick from a different flu strand are significantly less likely to be hospitalised.
“I know from speaking to medical experts that the more people who receive the flu vaccine mean that we are less likely patients with the flu on specialist beds such as ICU beds, as well as regular in-patient facilities.
“We need to see innovative ways to help reduce trolley numbers, and this suggestion might go along way to stop people ending up in our Emergency Departments in the height of winter.”