Written answers

Tuesday, 12 July 2022

Department of Health

Vaccination Programme

Photo of David CullinaneDavid Cullinane (Waterford, Sinn Fein)
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859. To ask the Minister for Health his plans to manage any outbreak of the flu in 2022, including the use of flu vaccines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37391/22]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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Ireland's National Immunisation Programme, which is operated by the Health Service Executive, includes the provision of the seasonal influenza vaccination to all individuals in specified at-risk groups.

Prior to 2020/2021, the influenza vaccination was available without charge to Medical or GP Visit card holders in one of the at-risk groups. Those, in these groups, who did not hold a medical card or a GP visit card were provided the vaccine without charge and typically paid an administration fee to have the vaccine administered.

In 2020/2021, given the potential for the winter influenza season to coincide with a resurgence of COVID-19 and the importance of minimising hospital attendance for the treatment of influenza, the Government expanded the provision of vaccination without charge to all of those in the at-risk groups, regardless of eligibility status.

This expanded programme ensured that those most vulnerable to the effects of influenza had access to vaccination without charge. This was intended to encourage uptake and thereby result in a reduction in the number of influenza-related hospital admissions and in the overall spread of influenza in the community. This expanded programme will be continued during the 2022-2023 flu season.

As the management of any flu outbreak is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly on this aspect, as soon as possible.


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