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Get the flu vaccine- Minister

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Flu causes severe illness and death in Ireland every year – get the flu vaccine now, it’s a life saver

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar today joined the HSE, Thursday 9th October, to urge people in at-risk groups to get vaccinated against influenza and warned that flu causes severe illness and death in Ireland every year.

The flu vaccine is a lifesaver because flu can be a very serious and sometimes deadly disease, with potentially 1,000 flu related deaths in Ireland during a severe flu season.
That is why those who are most vulnerable to the complications of flu need to get vaccinated.

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Minister Varadkar said: “I have seen at first hand the effect that Influenza can have on vulnerable people, especially the elderly and people with chronic diseases. The HSE has done a great job in raising uptake of this safe and effective vaccine among these groups in recent years. This year I particularly want to remind health care professionals of their duty to protect themselves and their patients by getting immunised. I know we can all do a much better job to get a much better uptake among the people who deal with our vulnerable patients every day.
Also this week the HSE Donegal launched its Staff Flu Vaccine Campaign at the first of its staff flu vaccination clinics at Letterkenny General Hospital.

All healthcare workers from the community and the hospital were invited to attend the launch and avail of the opportunity to get their vaccine. The clinic was run by staff from the Occupational health department.

It is essential that Healthcare workers, including doctors, nurses, therapists and carers get the seasonal flu vaccine every year. It is important that all those working in frontline healthcare protect themselves from getting the flu but also to prevent spreading the flu to vulnerable patients. Older and at risk patients may not get sufficient protection from the vaccine themselves so people who care for them need to be vaccinated.

The launch was an informal social event. By combining their morning tea break with getting the vaccine there was minimal disruption to the ongoing work in the hospital.

A touch of glamour was added to the event as some local sporting heroes popped in to show their support for the campaign. These included Michael Murphy, and Michael Boyle, GAA players on the Donegal Senior County team. Finn Harps soccer player Michael Funston who is also a HSE staff member attended the event. Staff welcomed the opportunity to talk to the players.

A very successful ‘teaser’ poster campaign was run over the weeks leading up to the launch which featured local staff. The final reveal poster of the campaign was unveiled with the photograph showing all of the staff who took part. Some of the captions included:

All our patients are someone’s family; get the Flu Vaccination; they’ll be glad you did

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The resounding message of the campaign ‘Im glad I did’ was echoed by all who took the vaccine.

Dr Louise Doherty, chairperson of the Donegal staff flu vaccine campaign group gave a warm welcome to all of the staff and the local sporting heroes who had joined us on the day to show their support for the campaign. She also welcomed the HSE Donegal Flu Champions and thanked them for their support in promoting the vaccine among staff in their workplaces.

Marty Houston a nurse and staff flu vaccine champion from Intellectual Disability Services stated ‘Healthcare workers are a particularly vulnerable group in terms of contracting the flu virus. Be Smart…Get A Head Start…Get the Flu Jab’.

Bill Maher, Group CEO of West/North West Hospital Group stated ’“I was delighted to receive my annual flu job today in Letterkenny. I think this essential preventative procedure should be actively promoted and encouraged across all of the hospitals in our Group. I wish to thank the staff flu vaccine committee in promoting this initiative and would encourage all staff to get their jab as soon as possible’.

On behalf of the Donegal Staff Flu Vaccine Committee we would like to thank the management at Letterkenny General Hospital for hosting the event and all those staff who supported the campaign in any way.

Particular mention must go to Laurence Thompson who worked tirelessly on the posters and took all the photographs on the day.

The HSE’s dedicated immunisation website – http://www.immunisation.ie/” – provides details on the annual flu vaccination and the pneumococcal vaccine, along with answers to any questions people may have about flu. Information leaflets are available to download. Information leaflets are also available in GP surgeries, pharmacists and HSE Local Health Offices.

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