If you work in a healthcare setting, you are at high risk of being exposed to COVID-19 and flu.
It’s important to follow infection prevention control measures to prevent the spread of viruses. The best protection from catching and getting seriously ill from flu and COVID-19 is vaccination.
Vaccines and immunity
Immunity from infection and previous vaccination weakens over time. Your COVID-19 and flu vaccines will top up your protection for the months ahead.
Healthcare workers should get the COVID-19 booster vaccine this autumn, regardless of how many booster doses they’ve received already.
How long to wait
You have to leave some time between your booster and your last COVID-19 vaccine or COVID-19 infection.
How long to wait before getting your COVID-19 vaccine depends on your age, if you are pregnant or if you have a weak immune system.
Getting the COVID-19 and flu vaccines at the same time
Evidence shows that it is safe for adults to get the COVID-19 and flu vaccines together.
The HSE only uses vaccines that meet required standards of safety and effectiveness.
Vaccines that are given at the same time should be given in different arms, where possible.
You may experience a slight increase in short-term mild side effects after getting both vaccines together. Learn more about side effects after getting COVID-19 and flu vaccines together
If you have any concerns about getting a vaccine, talk to your vaccinator, GP or pharmacist.
Where to get your COVID-19 and flu vaccines
Flu and COVID-19 vaccines may be available where you work. You can get both vaccines at the same appointment.
What to bring to your appointment
You must bring photo ID and proof of employment to the staff vaccination clinic.
Your proof of employment can be:
- staff ID
- letter from employer or manager
- letter from education facility confirming clinical placement details
You can also go to a participating GP or pharmacy for both vaccines.
You will need to contact your pharmacy or GP in advance to make an appointment.
Who should get vaccinated
Everyone working in a healthcare setting should get the flu vaccine including:
- medical, nursing and allied health professionals including those working in residential disability services
- medical, nursing and allied health students including those working in residential disability services
- general support staff
- dental personnel
- hospital porters and cleaners
- ambulance personnel
- carers and home helps
- all GP practice staff
- agency staff who fall into the above categories
We also recommend the flu vaccine for other at-risk groups.
Even healthy people can get seriously ill from flu.
Infection prevention and control procedures, such as hand hygiene, are essential in healthcare settings but they do not prevent flu. Vaccination is the best protection against flu.
In healthcare settings with high levels of flu vaccination there are lower rates of:
- flu-like illnesses
- hospitalisation and deaths from flu in people aged 65 and older
- sick leave in healthcare workers
Pregnant healthcare workers
We recommend the seasonal flu vaccine for all pregnant women. Pregnant women are more likely to get complications from flu. You can get the vaccine at any stage of pregnancy.
Getting the flu after vaccination
There are always other viruses circulating that can cause symptoms similar to flu. The vaccine only protects against flu and not other viruses.
It takes 2 weeks to develop immunity after vaccination. It’s possible to get flu if you are exposed to the virus during this time.
The vaccines are safe and effective. The HSE only uses vaccines when they meet the required standards of safety and effectiveness and after the European Medicine’s Agency (EMA) has licensed them.
Vaccines offer strong protection. Specific levels of effectiveness can vary from person to person. You are likely to have milder symptoms when sick if you have been vaccinated.
Training on HSeLanD
Learn more about these vaccines in a 15 minute online course designed to inform healthcare workers about the benefits of the flu and COVID-19 vaccines.
- go to HSeLanD.ie
- search for 'Flu and COVID-19 vaccines for healthcare workers - protect yourself, protect others'