The HSE has confirmed that there will be sufficient stock of the Flu Vaccine to cover demand this year.
So says Laois TD Charlie Flanagan – who also confirmed that those aged 2-12 or in at-risk groups will not be charged for the vaccine.
He said: “Given the potential for the winter flu season in 2020/2021 to coincide with a resurgence of COVID, and the importance of minimising hospital attendance, the Government has expanded the provision of vaccination without charge to all of those in the at-risk groups and to all children aged from 2 to 12 years.
“I was contacted by many constituents across Laois/Offaly and the wider midlands area, who raised concerns that they were unable to book in for their annual flu vaccine due to a shortage of the vaccine, with some GPs and pharmacists waiting to receive enough vaccine to meet this demand.
“This has been a great cause of concern to many especially the elderly and at-risk groups.
“The HSE has ordered 1.35 million doses of the influenza vaccine for adults (QIV vaccine), significantly more than last season due to the expected increase in demand in the targeted groups.
“The HSE has also purchased 600,000 doses of live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) for children aged 2-12 years old.”
Following a delay in the delivery of the initial batch of influenza vaccine for adults, the first deliveries of the QIV influenza vaccines to all sites (GPs, pharmacists, nursing homes etc) started on September 17.
By the end of this week approximately 800,000 doses of QIV vaccine will have been delivered to over 3,000 sites across the country, an increase of 25% in quantities of vaccine delivered when compared with last year.
Further deliveries will be made to all sites every two weeks. Sufficient stock has been ordered to vaccinate all those in the HSE at risk groups and all shipments will have arrived in Ireland before the end of October.
Mr Flanagan said: “Deliveries of the Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine (LAIV) for children aged 2-12 years old have also commenced, and all of the total order of 600,000 doses is expected by mid-October, as planned.
“People should note that there is no charge for the nasal flu vaccine in respect of children in the 2-12 age category.
“I have been assured that supplies to all sites are being treated in the same way to ensure an equitable distribution of influenza vaccine to all the target groups for vaccination around the midlands.”