Minister for Health Simon Harris TD has announced his intention extend the influenza vaccine to children without charge.
Minister Harris confirmed all of those in the HSE-defined at-risk groups, aged from six months to 69 years inclusive will also be available to access the vaccine without charge. All people aged over 70 already have access without charges.
The vaccination will be available to all children aged from two to 12 years inclusive.
Work is underway to plan and give effect to this policy and further information will be provided when arrangements have been finalised.
Minister Harris said: “A resurgence of COVID-19 during the coming flu season could present a significant challenge to the delivery of healthcare services in the coming winter.
“That is why officials from my Department have been working closely with the HSE to put in place an expansion of the seasonal influenza vaccination programme for winter 2020/21.
“Flu is a potentially fatal illness and I want to ensure that the most vulnerable in our communities are protected.
“When the time comes, I will be strongly encouraging 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.
“The flu vaccine is the only defence against the flu and is the best option for vulnerable people against the life-threatening complications of flu”.