Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland health agency issues vaccination plea after Aussie flu deaths in Republic

Northern Ireland Public Health Agency urging eligible people to get free flu vaccination without delay

The first flu deaths have been recorded in the Republic of Ireland as the dreaded 'Aussie flu' sweeps the country.

Flu cases have led to 73 hospitalisations so this this winter, 19 of which occurred last week.

It has now been confirmed for the first time that lives have been lost.

HSE’s assistant national director for health protection Dr Kevin Kelleher spoke on RTÉ Radio 1’s Morning Ireland about the looming prospect of a flu epidemic.

He confirmed that currently less than ten people have died after contracting the flu in Ireland this winter.

Kelleher explained that some people are more at risk of "Aussie flu" than others and that the symptoms can affect you very quickly.

“I’m not sure if the Australian flu is the Irish flu because they got it from us, or it’s the Australian flu because we got it from them, but we know it’s that virus,” he said.

“The flu, generally speaking, really hits you very hard.

"You speak to people who've had the flu and know they've had the flu, been told explicity they've had the flu, they often find it difficult to get out of bed, it's not an easy thing to do.

“It’s just the few people who have pre-existing conditions or who are quite elderly, who often have pre-existing conditions, who need to be admitted to hospital.”

In Northern Ireland the Public Health Agency is urging people who are eligible for the free flu vaccination to get it without delay.

Dr Lorraine Doherty, Assistant Director of Public Health (Health Protection) at the PHA said: "“Getting the free flu vaccine is the single most important thing you can do to help protect yourself against flu.

"With high levels of flu activity in Australia during their winter, and the potential for similar here, it is more important than ever that everyone who is eligible gets vaccinated.

“We are fortunate to have a more comprehensive flu vaccination programme than Australia or England, but the benefits can only be realised if a high proportion of the groups who can get the vaccine actually take up the offer."

Dr Doherty added: “Everyone who is eligible to be vaccinated against flu should see it as a positive step in protecting their health and the health of others around them. It will also help reduce the burden on our health service during an already busy time of year. All Trusts here make flu vaccine available to healthcare workers.”

“Getting the free flu vaccine is the single most important thing you can do to help protect yourself against flu. With high levels of flu activity in Australia during their winter, and the potential for similar here, it is more important than ever that everyone who is eligible gets vaccinated.

“We are fortunate to have a more comprehensive flu vaccination programme than Australia or England, but the benefits can only be realised if a high proportion of the groups who can get the vaccine actually take up the offer."

 

Belfast Telegraph Digital

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph