Fine Gael Seanad Spokesperson on Health Martin Conway has suggested that the flu vaccine should be free for everyone this year.
He said that officials should be “running the same campaign as we have been running for COVID-19 to encourage people to take the flu vaccine”.
No confirmed cases of the flu were reported last year, which experts believe was a result of public health measures that were implemented to stop the spread of Covid-19.
However, as the country begins to reopen with the easing of restrictions, there are fears that the flu along with other respiratory viruses could begin to spread rapidly this year.
There are also concerns surrounding the difficulties involved with differentiating between Covid-19 and common respiratory illnesses such as the flu.
Free flu vaccines are currently available for vulnerable groups such as children, pregnant women, people with underlying health conditions and those over the age of 65.
However, Conway believes that this should be extended to everybody.
“I don’t believe there should be any barrier – that’s why I believe being charged for the flu vaccine should be phased out and eliminated.”
He also suggested that the notion of charging people to get vaccinated was “penny wise and pound foolish”.
IMAGE – Army Spc. Angel Laureano holds a vial of the COVID-19 vaccine, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., Dec. 14, 2020. (DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando)