Press release

HSE’s Autumn Winter Vaccination Programme starts today, 2 October 2023

Published: 2 October 2023

Updated: 29 January 2024

  • Older people, at-risk groups and health and care workers urged to get vaccinated and protect themselves against both Flu and COVID19
  • Safe to have both vaccines at the same time
  • New study shows COVID-19 vaccination programme in Ireland prevented 87% of deaths and 81% of hospitalisations expected to occur in the absence of vaccination

The HSE’s Autumn Winter vaccination programme gets underway today, Monday, 2 October with the roll out of the free Flu and COVID19 vaccines to recommended groups.

The COVID19 Autumn Winter booster vaccine is recommended for people aged 50 and over. The Flu vaccine is recommended for people aged 65 and over. Both vaccines are recommended for health and care workers, anyone who is pregnant or has a long term health condition.

Both vaccines will be available from participating GPs and pharmacists and can be given at the same time. Health and care worker vaccination clinics will also take place in many workplaces across the country.

HSE vaccination teams will also provide both vaccines for people living in residential care facilities including nursing homes as well as to housebound patients.

Dr Lucy Jessop, HSE National Immunisation Lead, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, said:

“This winter both the Flu and COVID19 viruses are expected to circulate. It is very important that all those who are invited, get both their free Flu and COVID19 booster vaccines. Flu and COVID19 are caused by different viruses but both can cause serious illness. People should also be reassured that it is safe to receive both vaccines at the same time.”

The significance of the vaccination programme in saving people from serious illness and death from Covid19 is highlighted by recent research undertaken by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) on the impact of the COVID19 vaccine programme in Ireland on reducing deaths and hospitalisations.

Between December 2021 and March 2023, the study estimates that the vaccination programme prevented 87% of deaths, 81% of hospitalisations and 89% of ICU admissions that would have been expected to occur in the absence of vaccination.

Commenting on the research, Dr Colm Henry, HSE Chief Clinical Officer, said:

“This research clearly shows that in the 15 months to March 2023, COVID-19 vaccines averted symptomatic and severe COVID-19 cases, preventing 16,000 deaths and over 100,000 hospitalisations. It emphasises the importance of maintaining high population vaccination coverage, providing additional booster doses and protecting those most at risk. The study also highlights the significance of the vaccination programme in protecting our hospital capacity and averting hospitalisations and ICU admissions.”

Comirnaty Omicron XBB.1.5 vaccine, a new monovalent vaccine recently approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has been recommended by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) in Ireland as the Autumn Winter COVID19 booster. This new vaccine generates a substantially improved antibody response against certain COVID variants and offers greater protection.

The pneumococcal vaccine (PPV23) which protects against pneumonia, septicaemia and meningitis is also available free of charge from participating GPs for people aged 65 and older. The vaccine can be taken at the same time as the Flu and COVID19 vaccines.

The children’s Flu vaccine (a nasal spray) will also launch on 9 October and will be available from participating GPs and Pharmacists for children aged 2 to 12 years. An extension of this year’s programme will see the vaccine offered to children in Senior Infants and all children in Primary Age Special Schools this year.

To see what vaccines are recommended for you, visit, call HSELive on 1800 700 700 or talk to a participating GP or pharmacist.

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