Influenza at a glance
- Influenza, for most people, will resolve itself naturally in 7 to 10 days.
- The consequences of influenza in children and adults are mainly absenteeism from school and work.
- Influenza is an illness that predominantly affects the elderly with an average median age of death of 77 between 2012 and 2019.
- After three decades of vaccines (first one introduced in 1988), the risk of death for children under 14 increased to 1 in 702,000 (0.0001%) from 1 in 2 million (0.00005%) in the decade before any vaccine. The rate of death for all ages improved marginally from 1 in 54,000 (0.0019%) to 1 in 61,000 (0.0016%).
- Additional surveillance and rebranding of influenza by the health authorities could account for some of this increase.
- There were no flu deaths reported in 2021 during covid.
Health Freedom Ireland (HFI) encourages you to become fully informed about vaccines and the associated illnesses so that you can give informed consent if you choose to vaccinate yourself or your child(ren). This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. HFI is simply bringing this information to you – we neither recommend nor advise against vaccination.
Does the HSE recommend a vaccine for influenza (flu)?
Further information on safety and effectiveness of each of the influenza vaccines is covered in detail in the associated Health Freedom Ireland document.
- The Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine is recommended each year by the HSE and offered free to the following cohorts: people aged 65 and older, who do not also have a chronic health condition, children aged 2 to 17, healthcare workers and carers. It is also free for pregnant women who are encouraged to get the vaccine despite the low risk from influenza.Vaccine risk versus benefit needs to be weighed up carefully before giving consent for you and your baby.
- Despite children being at extremely low risk from influenza (see tables below) the Fluenz Tetra Nasal Spray Vaccine is recommended on an annual basis from the age of 2 and is on the school programme schedule from 2023 for senior infants. Uptake is typically higher in school settings as there is no out of pocket expense and no inconvenience for parents.
Do the vaccines guarantee protection from influenza?
The influenza vaccine will only offer protection against influenza strains included in the vaccine. The vaccines available at the moment are quadrivalent, which means they include four strains. There are hundreds of strains of flu, however, these four strains are the ones that are predicted to be circulating at the time of concocting the flu vaccine.
What is influenza (flu)?
Influenza is a viral infection that produces fever, chills, sore throat, muscle aches, and cough that lasts a week or more. People tend to use the term “flu” to describe any kind of respiratory or gastrointestinal illness, such as colds or diarrhoea and vomiting that resemble “influenza-like-illness” (ILI) symptoms. But influenza is usually associated with more severe illness and lasts longer than the common cold and, normally, influenza does not cause vomiting or diarrhoea in adults.
The vast majority of people recover from influenza without any complications and develop immunity to future infection with the same strain or a related influenza strain that may prevent illness symptoms or make illness less severe. There is, however, an increased risk for serious complications and death for the elderly and those with compromised immune systems or who are suffering from diabetes, kidney, heart or neurological disease.
What is the risk of getting influenza in Ireland?
Summary as per table below
- Risk of getting influenza for all ages approximately 1 in 999 (0.1%)
- Risk of being hospitalised with influenza approximately 1 in 2,500 (0.04%)
- Risk of ICU admission with influenza approximately 1 in 44,000 (0.002%)
- Risk of ICU admission with influenza for pregnant women approximately 1 in 28,500 pregnancies (0.0035%)
What is the risk of dying from influenza in Ireland?
Decade before the influenza vaccine for adults was introduced (1978 -1987)
The risk of dying from influenza for all ages in the decade before the vaccine was introduced in 1988 was extremely rare at approximately 1 in 54,000 (0.002%).
- the majority of deaths were in people over 75 years old
- there were a total of 5 deaths in under 14 year olds, 4 of which were under 4 years old
In the eight more recent years between 2012 and 2019, the risk of dying for all ages had decreased slightly to approx 1 in 61,000 (0.002%) and for under 14s, the risk increased to 1 in 702,000 (0.0001%).
On average there were less than 2 deaths a year from all pregnancy complications that may have included influenza in the decade between 2009 and 2018.
Influenza disease Vs vaccine risk summary
Further information and analysis on the Quadrivalent Influenza vaccine and Fluenz Tetra Influenza (Flu) Vaccine is outlined in the linked Health Freedom Ireland documents.
Data source: CSO annual reports 1864 to 2000, CSO annual reports 2001 onwards, Influenza vaccine patient information leaflets,HPSC Influenza Season Summaries *Influenza season summaries finish in 2019, more details on data sources
Join the parents support group to continue the discussion and learn from the experience of others
Health Freedom Ireland
Health Freedom Ireland Fluenz Tetra Influenza (Flu) Vaccine
Health Freedom Ireland Are Vaccines Safe?
Health Freedom Ireland Aluminium in Vaccines
Health Freedom Ireland Childhood Vaccines
Health Freedom Ireland Pregnancy Vaccines
Health Freedom Ireland The Vaccine Booklet (a comprehensive overview of pregnancy and childhood vaccines in Ireland)
Health Service Executive (HSE) Influenza
National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) Influenza
Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) Seasonal Influenza
World Health Organisation (WHO) Influenza (Seasonal)
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) Seasonal influenza