News & Media

Extending free flu jab could help ease hospital pressure

6 November 2019

Statement by Alan Kelly TD
Spokesperson on Health

Labour Party Health spokesperson, Alan Kelly TD, has called on the Government to provide free flu vaccinations across the board to help counter winter viruses and as a measure to reduce trolley numbers later in the year.

Deputy Kelly said:

“Despite thousands of people ending up on trolleys every week in our hospitals, we know the worst is yet to come.

“We could avoid some unnecessary hospitals admissions later in the year if the flu vaccine was available universally free of charge to all beyond the target groups.

“If we use Australia as a precedent, we already know what to expect from flu season and I’m not sure if our EDs can take this kind of pressure.

“If the Government is serious about reducing mayhem in our hospitals in the coming months, then they must take calls to extend the flu vaccine beyond the at-risk groups seriously. The medical evidence is clear, people who have been vaccinated and then get sick from a different flu strand are significantly less likely to be hospitalised.

“I know from speaking to medical experts that the more people who receive the flu vaccine mean that we are less likely patients with the flu on specialist beds such as ICU beds, as well as regular in-patient facilities.

“We need to see innovative ways to help reduce trolley numbers, and this suggestion might go along way to stop people ending up in our Emergency Departments in the height of winter.”