HSE encourages at-risk groups to get the flu vaccine

Flu is a serious illness that can cause complications like pneumonia

Even if you get the flu, having been vaccinated will make your illness milder.

Public health authorities in ME say the state has received word of the first cases of seasonal influenza for the new flu season.

But the flu is around all year, Epperson explained. These components have been updated from last year's vaccine to better match the strains being seen. "I would urge all the at-risk groups, including healthcare staff, to get the flu vaccine", Dr Fitzgerald said.

According to the HSE, health service staff are 10 times more likely to get the flu than other groups. Nine people died from flu related illness in the South East during that period. More than 340 pharmacies will offer free flu vaccinations this season. The flu vaccine is also available and can be administered at local pharmacists.

We put a poll on Facebook about whether or not you were planning on getting your flu shot, as of 10pm on Thursday night, over three thousand people responded. For the 2018-2019 season, the first hospitalization from the illness was in November.

The vaccine is particularly recommended for pregnant women, people aged 50 or older, people with chronic medical conditions, and those who care for people with high risk of flu complications.

The flu vaccine should give a good degree of protection against these strains this winter but the virus can also mutate, making the impact unpredictable.

The best way to protect oneself from the flu is to simply get vaccinated, despite the common misconception that you get the flu from the vaccine. "These include avoiding contact with people who might be sick, washing your hands frequently, covering your nose and mouth if you do get sick and if you're coughing or sneezing, that can help prevent the spread of flu to other people".

To stay informed, visit CDPHE's flu web page.

The HSE's dedicated immunisation website - - provides details on the annual flu vaccination, as well as the pneumococcal vaccine for over 65s and people in medical at-risk groups and Whooping Cough vaccine for pregnant women, along with answers to any questions people may have about flu.

For more information, please call DOH-Orange's Immunization program at 407-858-1444.