04 Dec 2021

Waterford people urged to get the flu vaccine

Waterford people urged to get the flu vaccine

Waterford people urged to get the flu vaccine

All healthcare workers and people in at-risk groups in Waterford City and County are being urged to get the flu vaccine.

In a three and a half  minute video released this week, the Chief Officer of the HSE’s South East Community Healthcare (SECH) organisation Kate Killeen White is re-iterating the message that “if you can’t get the flu, then you can’t spread the flu” – pointing out that vaccine is the only defence against the flu and is the “best shot” for vulnerable people against the life-threatening complications of flu.

You can view the video HERE

Billy O’ Sullivan, SECH’s Finance Manager based at its Community Services Centre on the Cork Road, Waterford City appears in the video to testify that he gets the vaccine every year and that it gets him through the winter without a problem.

Dr. Elyce McGovern, who is from Tramore, also features and says the one in four chance she has of contracting the flu as a healthcare worker is nullified by getting the vaccine.

Dungarvan based Clinical Nurse Manager in Occupational Health Ann Marie Howard, in her contribution to the clip, says if we have no control over many things in life, we do over getting the flu by having the vaccine against it.

Vaccination is strongly recommended for: health care workers, those aged 65 years and older, people (including children) with long term medical conditions, all pregnant women, residents of nursing homes or long-stay facilities and also those in regular contact with pigs, poultry or waterfowl. People in these groups can get the flu vaccine free of charge from their GP (those without medical or GP visit cards may be charged an administration fee). The flu vaccine is also available and can be administered at local pharmacists.

The flu vaccination is provided free of charge to all staff of the HSE.

Chief Officer Kate Killeen White, in looking at overall statistics relevant to the South East, urged all healthcare workers to get the vaccine and advised as to benefits of less flu in the community:

“In the 2018-19 season, there were 1,293 confirmed cases of flu across counties Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford. 32% of those were hospital inpatients, with the remainder occurring among people living in the community. Nine people died from flu-related illness in the South East during that period. 

"I welcome last year’s increase in uptake of the flu vaccine among healthcare workers but we want such a positive development to continue. I hope that every healthcare worker in the South East considers getting vaccinated this year. By getting the vaccine, healthcare staff are protecting themselves, their families, their colleagues, friends and the people they look after in the health service.

“I am being joined by HSE colleagues in management at University Hospital Waterford, Wexford General Hospital, St. Luke’s General Hospital Carlow/Kilkenny and South Tipperary General Hospital in this call, as ensuring that there are less cases of flu in the community will also alleviate some of the pressures on Emergency Departments and acute inpatient beds – in addition to making sure that residents in community nursing units and in mental health facilities, clients of day care centres and those being supported in disability care services are safer from the threat and consequences of infection.”

Dr. Jacinta Mulroe, Specialist in Public Health medicine with the HSE in the South East says that everyone should be cognisant of the dangers of flu:

“Flu is a highly infectious viral illness. It causes a sudden onset of illness with symptoms such as a cough, high temperature, headache and aches and pains. Flu can cause severe illness and can even be life-threatening, particularly among older people, young children, those who have a long term illness and pregnant women.

"Flu is spread from person to person. People with influenza are infectious to other people for 1-2 days before they feel sick and for 5 days after they feel sick. The flu can be very dangerous. It causes a few hundred deaths in Ireland each year. Complications such as pneumonia can occur.

"It can cause deterioration in underlying conditions such as COPD and cardiovascular disease. Pregnant women are at high risk of complications due to influenza and they also have an increased risk of miscarriage and premature birth if they get the flu. The flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself from it.”

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