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PHA urge parents to get children vaccinated against flu

With Christmas around the corner time Northern Ireland's Public Health Agency (PHA) is urging those who are eligible to get their winter vaccines, saying the sooner you get them, the sooner you'll help protect yourself and those around you.

Dr Brid Farrell, Deputy Director of Public Health at the Public Health Agency is particularly calling on the parents of pre-school and school aged children to get them vaccinated against flu.

“Evidence shows that the flu vaccine for children can provide direct protection to them and will also reduce the amount of flu circulating, thus providing indirect protection for older people and individuals with underlying health conditions.

“Getting flu and other viral infections can increase the risk of invasive Group A Strep infection in the following weeks. The flu vaccine reduces the risk of having flu and group A Strep infections at the same time therefore it reduces the chance of developing invasive Group A Strep (iGAS).

"The PHA strongly recommends children who are eligible get a flu vaccine – it’s the best way to protect them from serious illness. The flu vaccine for children has an excellent safety record, this includes the nasal spray given to school aged children and pre-schoolers, which has been given to millions of children in the UK and worldwide.”

Pre-school children in Northern Ireland aged two years and over are eligible to receive the free flu vaccine through their GP.

Children in primaries one to seven and children in Year 8 to Year 12 will be offered the flu vaccine in school. 

Dr Farrell continued:

“I would also like to take this opportunity to remind all eligible groups to get their winter vaccine now before time runs out. Particularly with Christmas nearly upon us we must not forget the double threat of flu and COVID-19 when mixing with friends and family.

“Vaccines are the most effective way to prevent infectious diseases as they teach our immune system how to recognise and fight viruses. Being vaccinated against both viruses will not only help to protect you and those around you from flu and COVID-19, but will help protect everyone from a potentially devastating double threat this Christmas.”

Most people will be offered the flu jab and COVID-19 booster vaccine at the same appointment if they are eligible. It is safe and effective to receive them in this way.

Eligible groups for flu vaccine in 2022 to 2023 are:

  • Those aged 50 years and over (by 31 March 2023)

  • Those aged 6 months to 2 years, and 16 to 49 years in clinical risk groups

  • Pregnant women

  • All preschool children aged 2 or over on 1 September 2022

  • All primary and secondary (up to year 12) school children

  • Those in long-stay residential care homes

  • Carers

  • Household contact of immunosuppressed individuals

  • Frontline health and social care workers.

Eligible groups for COVID-19 vaccine in 2022 to 2023 are:

  • All adults aged 50 and over (by 31 March 2023)

  • Those aged 5 to 49 years in a clinical risk group

  • Pregnant women

  • Residents in a care home for older adults, and staff working in care homes for older adults

  • Those aged 5 to 49 years who are household contacts of people with immunosuppression

  • Those aged 16 to 49 years who are carers

  • Frontline health and social care workers.

For further information on the winter vaccines see


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