IPA Launch Flunited Vaccination Campaign with Aidan O'Shea
At the Irish Patients Association (IPA), we are deeply committed to promoting the health and well-being of all Irish citizens, with a particular focus on our most vulnerable members of society—our children. Today, we are sharing critical findings from our latest research, which underscore the need for urgent action to protect our children during the upcoming winter flu season.
Our research has revealed a concerning trend: 4 out of every 10 parents are hesitating to have their children receive the free winter flu vaccine. This hesitancy persists, even in the face of the fact that 1,274 children were hospitalized due to the flu during the previous flu season. Most concerning is the fact that over a quarter of parents do not perceive the winter flu as a significant threat to their children.
The 'Flunited' Campaign:
In response to these findings, we are proud to introduce the 'Flunited' campaign, a collective initiative aimed at safeguarding our children's health. 'Flunited' is a portmanteau of "flu" and "united," emphasizing the importance of the children's flu vaccine this winter. We are calling on parents and guardians across the nation to unite with the 'Flunited' team to combat the annual flu outbreak.
The primary goal of the 'Flunited' campaign is to raise awareness about the seriousness of the flu, especially for our young children. The consequences of the flu can be severe and may lead to complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and even inflammation of the brain (encephalitis). We want to ensure that every parent is aware of these risks and takes the necessary steps to protect their children.
Access to the Children's Flu Vaccine:
The children's flu vaccine, administered as a free nasal spray, is readily available to all children between the ages of 2 and 12. Additionally, children aged 13 to 17 who are at high risk of contracting the flu are eligible for this vaccine. You can conveniently obtain the vaccine at your local general practitioner's office, participating pharmacies, and, for the first time this year, in participating schools across the country.
It's essential to take note of the alarming statistics that underscore the urgency of this matter. Professor of Immunology, Christine Loscher, has pointed out that children are twice as likely to contract the flu compared to adults. Children who develop complications from the flu may require hospitalization, with some even needing intensive care.
Over the past decade in Ireland, nearly 5,000 children were admitted to hospitals due to flu-related complications. Tragically, almost 200 children received intensive care, and 40 children lost their lives to the virus. It is our mission to ensure that parents are fully informed about the risks associated with the flu.
Nasal Flu Vaccine in Schools:
Additionally, we are thrilled to announce that some primary school children will have the opportunity to receive the free nasal flu vaccine in school through HSE vaccination teams. Parents will be contacted by their local teams regarding this exciting development. Furthermore, it is reassuring to know that the HSE confirms that the flu vaccine can be safely administered alongside other recommended vaccines.
For more detailed information on this vital campaign and the children's flu vaccine, please visit the HSE's dedicated page on the children's flu vaccine. Together we can take the necessary steps to protect our children's health and well-being during this upcoming flu season.