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Flu Vaccine

What is flu?

Seasonal flu (also known as influenza) is a highly infectious illness caused by the flu virus.

The virus infects your lungs and upper airways, causing a sudden high temperature and general aches and pains, headache, weakness and exhaustion. Symptoms can last for up to one week. You may need to stay in bed until your symptoms get better. Flu affects people of all ages. In some people flu can cause serious complications such as pneumonia.

How the flu vaccine works

The flu vaccine helps your immune system to produce antibodies (proteins that fight infection). If you have had the flu vaccine and you come into contact with the flu virus, the vaccine can stop you from getting sick

The flu vaccine starts to work within 2 weeks.

You need to have the flu vaccine every year. This is because the antibodies that protect you decline over time. Flu strains can also change from year to year.

You can get the flu vaccine for free if you:

  • are 65 years of age and over
  • are pregnant
  • are a child aged 2 to 17 years
  • are an adult or child aged 6 months or older at increased risk for flu related complications including those with long term conditions:
    •  chronic heart disease, including acute coronary syndrome
    •  chronic liver disease
    •  chronic renal failure
    • chronic respiratory disease, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, moderate or severe asthma or bronchopulmonary dysplasia
    • chronic neurological disease including multiple sclerosis, hereditary and degenerative disorders of the central nervous system
    • diabetes mellitus
    • haemoglobinopathies

    • morbid obesity i.e. body mass index (BMI) over 40
      immunosuppression due to disease or treatment (including treatment for cancer)
    • children with a moderate to severe neurodevelopmental disorder such as cerebral palsy
    • children on long term aspirin therapy
    • those with any condition that can compromise respiratory function (e.g. spinal cord injury, seizure disorder or other neuromuscular disorder) especially those attending special schools or day centres
    • were born with Down syndrome

  • live in a nursing home or other long-term care facility

some people should get the vaccine to protect themselves, their families and those they care for. These include

  • those who work in healthcare
  • only household contacts or carers of people who have an underlying chronic health condition or have Down syndrome are eligible to receive an influenza vaccine. A carer is described as someone who is providing an ongoing significant level of care to a person who is in need of care in the home due to illness or disability or frailty.

  • People who are in regular contact with pigs, poultry or waterfowl should get the flu vaccine.


For adults aged 18-64 years who are not in an "at-risk" group as specified by the HSE, you will need to book a private flu vaccination. The price for the service is €30

Attending your Vaccination Appointment

The appointment will take about 15 minutes.

The consent form will be filled out and be available for you to review and ready to sign upon arrival.

You will be required to wear a face covering and confirm that you have no symptoms or have not been in contact with anyone infected with COVID 19.

We’ll clean the vaccination area before and after every appointment

How to Book an Appointment

Step 1 Register for your flu vaccine with O’Dwyer’s Pharmacy. You can do this in store or online here.                 * by clicking on the “Book Flu Vaccine Now” button.
You will be asked to confirm your contact details along with your PPSN, answer some eligibility criteria questions and confirm your consent for the vaccine.

Step 2 O’Dwyer’s Pharmacy may have appointment slots available to select a time and date that suits you. Alternatively, a member of the O’Dwyer’s Pharmacy team will contact you when an appointment becomes available if you are registering for waitlist. This may be via SMS message, email, or a phone call.

Step 3 O’Dwyer’s Pharmacy will send a reminder the day before your appointment, and you will be asked to confirm that you do not have any symptoms of COVID-19.

*Registering your interest does not guarantee a Seasonal Flu Vaccination Service appointment or vaccination. Appointment availability is subject to stock and eligibility criteria.*

Safety and effectiveness of the flu vaccine

Getting the flu vaccine is the best way to help protect yourself from getting the flu.

It will not stop all flu viruses and the level of protection may vary. So it's not a 100% effective and you may still get flu.

But if you do get flu after you have the vaccine, it's likely to be milder and you will recover more quickly.

Flu vaccines usually reduce the risk of infection by 40-60%.

Flu vaccines also reduce:

  • the severity of illness
  • complications from influenza
  • flu-related hospitalisations
  • admissions to critical care units

Flu vaccine side effects

The most common side effects are mild and include soreness, redness or swelling where the injection was given. Headache, fever, aches, drowsiness and tiredness may occur. You may have mild sweating and shivering as your immune system responds to the vaccine. This is not flu and will pass in a day or so.

Serious side effects such as a severe allergic reaction are rare.

In very rare cases Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) has been reported (Guillain-Barré Syndrome is a condition that affects the nerves in the body. It causes nerve inflammation and can result in pain, numbness, muscle weakness and difficulty walking). However, the risk of GBS following flu is significantly greater than that following the flu vaccine

More Information

HSE Information on flu vaccine

Flu vaccine during pregnancy

Flu vaccine for healthcare workers

Flu vaccine for children


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