Limerick GP’s urge patients to get flu jab to avoid "serious outcomes" due to Covid

Limerick GP’s urge patients to get flu jab to avoid "serious outcomes" due to Covid

Limerick GPs are urging their patients to get the flu vaccine - particularly given the Covid-19 pandemic

A LIMERICK GP has warned that if patients are infected with the flu and Covid-19 during the six-month influenza season, there will be a greater likelihood of a “serious outcome”. 

That’s according to Raheen-based GP, Dr David Hannon who is encouraging members of the public to not take the gamble, and get the flu jab, as clinics nationwide are receiving their annual vaccine stocks.

The flu vaccine will be made available for free for those in at-risk groups, including those who are chronically ill and pregnant, patients over 65, medical card holders, and will include all children aged two to 12. However, for the latter, it will come in the form of a nasal spray later this month. 

Meanwhile, the Limerick Leader understands that communion parties and large family gatherings are still taking place in the region, despite intensified calls to reduce social contact to quash the virus’ spread. 

Dr Hannon, who runs the Raheen Medical Centre with two other GPs, has said the onset of the coronavirus pandemic has exerted major pressures on their workload since February, with many GPs working 12-hour days. 

He said consultation “involves a huge amount of work”, and has changed his consultation system “completely” to meet the surge in demand at the clinic. A lot of his consultations are now done virtually, requiring some new technology. 

Dr Ray O’Connor, of the Graduate Entry Medical School at UL, said one of the difficulties arising out of Covid-19 GP care is telephone consultations. 

“If I am talking to you over the phone, and you are telling me that you have a cough and you don’t feel well, it’s very difficult for me to assess you over the phone. But at the same time, I would be very worried about bringing anything into my clinic, in case you had Covid, you infect staff, you infect me. That adds an additional layer of stress and anxiety,” he explained. 

Dr Seamus Kilby, of Barrington Street, said that if he has patients with Covid-19 symptoms, he brings them into a “special room which is specially designed for minimum risk minimisation and isolation”. 

Dr Hannon said that if people are flu-positive, their immune system is temporarily weakened.

“This year, we have another significant factor, as Covid-19 will be around us. If people happen to get influenza and also happen to get Covid-19, then it’s likely they will become much iller. They will have much greater health needs, and much more likely of having a serious outcome.”

As of this Sunday, the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 reported in Limerick since February is close to 1,000.

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