Protect your heart – get the flu vaccine

By June Shannon Heart News   |   4th Oct 2018

People with chronic illness including heart disease and stroke should get the flu vaccine

The HSE has today (04 October) urged all healthcare workers and people in at-risk groups to get the flu vaccine, this includes people with chronic conditions such as heart disease and stroke.

The flu vaccine is the only defence against the flu and the best shot for vulnerable people against the life-threatening complications of flu. More than 200 people died from the flu in the 2017/2018 flu season.

At-risk groups include: those aged 65 years and older, people (including children) with long term medical conditions, all pregnant women, residents of nursing homes or long-stay facilities, and also those in regular contact with pigs, poultry or water fowl. People in these groups can get the flu vaccine free of charge but those without a medical or GP visit card may be charged an administration fee.

More than 200 people died from the flu in the 2017/2018 flu season.

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The HSE lists chronic heart disease, including acute coronary syndrome among the list of long-term medical conditions and according to the Executive, people who have suffered a stroke should also get the flu vaccine.

“The flu vaccine is recommended for all people with chronic illness requiring regular medical follow-up, this would include anyone who has had a stroke no matter what age they are,” the HSE National Immunisation Office (NIO) told the Irish Heart Foundation.

Launching the HSE’s campaign #YourBestShot the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, said: “Flu is a nasty and potentially fatal illness, particularly for those who are susceptible to the complications of flu. The National Flu Plan provides a robust framework for combatting the impact that the flu has on those who are most at risk from its effects, such as people over 65, pregnant women and health care workers. I want to strongly encourage those from at risk groups to get vaccinated to protect themselves and, in the case of health care workers, those they care for, from exposure to the flu.”

Speaking at the launch of the 2018/2019 flu vaccine campaign interim head of the HSE National Immunisation Office, Dr Sean Denyer warned “In the 2017 / 2018 influenza season, the number of confirmed influenza hospitalised cases, ICU cases, influenza associated deaths and influenza outbreaks exceeded all previous records in Ireland. The impact was particularly severe for those aged 65 years and older, with 2,218 confirmed influenza hospitalised cases and 85 ICU admissions in this age group. 222 deaths were reported to HPSC, with a median age of 81 years.”

 

"At the Irish Heart Foundation we recommend all those with existing heart disease and those who’ve had a stroke, should be vaccinated to protect themselves.”

Bernadette Bergin, Helpline Nurse, Irish Heart Foundation

The Irish Heart Foundation’s help line nurse Bernadette Bergin said, “getting flu brings an increased risk for heart attack and stroke, especially in already vulnerable people. So, at the Irish Heart Foundation we recommend all those with existing heart disease and those who’ve had a stroke, should be vaccinated to protect themselves.”

The HSE urges all those in risk groups (e.g. those aged 65 years and over, pregnant women, those in at risk groups and healthcare workers) to get the flu vaccine now if they have not done so already, the vaccine takes two weeks to work.

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