Need to purchase additional stocks of adult flu vaccine is immediate

The Minister for Health has disclosed to the Dáil that the HSE plans to purchase just 200,000 additional adult flu vaccines prior to the forthcoming flu season, despite the pressure this could place on the nation’s health system over the winter months.

“Last winter the HSE purchased 1.15m Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine and this year it plans to increase its order to just 1.35m doses, along with 600,000 doses of the Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine that will be made available to all children aged from two to 12 years old.

“In reality this means there is just an additional 200,000 vaccine doses available for the adult population, or half of all adults, well short of what is needed to protect the population not just from the flu virus but from being confused with the COVID-19 symptoms which could cause absolute chaos within our hospitals this winter.

“We were lucky that when COVID-19 struck last March we were pretty much out of the flu virus season, but that will not be the case if we have another surge in Coronavirus infection this autumn.

“While I welcome the fact that the HSE has ordered 600,000 doses of a nasal drop vaccine, doses which will be made available to all children aged from TWO to 12 years, ordering additional adult doses for just five percent of the population is far short of what is needed to protect the country from the flu this winter.

“The only way our health service can manage a surge in COVID-19 infection this winter is if we can rule out the possibility that the patient has flu, as the symptoms are so similar. This can only be achieved by a population-wide vaccination programme against the flu virus and the public must be actively encouraged to have the flu jab, and children the flu drops, this winter.

“However, if people go to the effort of protecting themselves, our older people and our health service by availing of the vaccine, the very last thing we need is to have them put on a waiting list due to a lack of the availability of vaccine.

“After such heroic efforts by every citizen in the State to stop the spread of this virus earlier this year we cannot allow a second wave of infection to cause chaos in our hospitals this winter under any circumstances,” Deputy Denis Naughten stated.

 

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