Vaccines

Vaccines

Immunisation Programmes:

At present babies in Ireland are vaccinated against the following:

Diphtheria, Haemophilus influenza b, Hepatitis B, Pertussis (whooping cough), Polio, tetanus, Pneumococcal, Meningococcal B (since 2016), Meningococcal C, Rotavirus (since 2016), Measles, Mumps and Rubella.

If you are concerned that you did not receive the standard vaccines of childhood please talk to our nurse in the Student Health Centre.

Adult vaccines:

Flu vaccine The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the 3 strains of flu virus recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the strains most likely to be circulating this season. You should get your flu vaccination in September to be covered for flu season. The viruses change each year. This is why you need to get a new vaccine each year.  The flu vaccine starts to work within two weeks.

People in at-risk groups (such as being pregnant or having a long-term health condition) are offered the vaccine free.

The flu vaccine is inactive and can be given safely at any time during pregnancy. Flu vaccination during pregnancy provides immunity against influenza infection to babies in the first 6 months of life.

Hepatitis B is a viral disease that attacks the liver and may cause jaundice (yellow skin and eyes). The virus usually clears within 6 months; however, there is a risk of remaining infectious and developing cirrhosis or cancer of the liver over a period of years.

The Hepatitis B virus is found in many body fluids, e.g. sweat, tears, saliva, semen and vaginal secretions. Infected blood is the most common way the virus is spread 

Hepatitis B immunisation course consists of three doses of vaccine. These are given at 0, 1 and 6 months. A blood test will also be taken 2 months after the full course of immunisation to make certain that the immunisation has been effective.

If an immunisation course is interrupted, it should be resumed as soon as possible. It is not necessary to repeat the course, regardless of the time interval from the previous incomplete course. 

Pneumococcal disease is caused by a bacteria called streptococcus pneumoniae. It is a major cause of illness and death, particularly amongst the very young, the very old and those who have no spleen or weakened immunity.

There are two different pneumococcal vaccines to prevent pneumococcal infections 

  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) -given to all babies
  • Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV23) -for those aged 65 years and older and those over 2 years with long term medical conditions. This vaccine protects against 23 types of pneumococcal disease including those most likely to cause severe disease. 

Whooping cough vaccine is now offered free to all pregnant women between 16-36 weeks of pregnancy. It is very important that you get vaccinated in pregnancy to protect your baby.

Any adult who wishes to reduce their risk of infection to themselves or to young babies may get the vaccine.  The immunity from previous vaccination lasts about 10 years so adolescents and adults may get whooping cough again. 

Rubella (German Measles) If a woman gets rubella in early pregnancy it may cause miscarriage, still birth or major birth defects.  If you are planning pregnancy ask your doctor to test your immunity to rubella. If you have no immunity your doctor will advise you get MMR vaccine before you become pregnant. MMR vaccine can be given at any age. 

You should not get the MMR vaccine if you are already pregnant.

Travel Vaccinations

You may need extra vaccinations when going abroad. Certain parts of the world are associated with specific diseases. Some countries require proof of vaccination to enter or get a visa. Your destination and the purpose of your travel will determine what vaccines are required. 

For specific travel advice, including vaccinations and malarial prophylaxis you should contact your G.P. or travel clinic. 

It is important to be aware of how to avoid getting sick abroad

The Healthy Living Centre on DCU Glasnevin Campus offers comprehensive advice on Travel health including the provision of travel vaccines.  Email: hlc@dcu.ie Phone: 01 700 7171 

The HSE’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre has “General Advice for international travellers

The Department of Foreign Affairs has country specific travel advice 

More information

HSE Guidelines on Vaccinations

All about Hepatitis B

HSE Travel advice for International Travellers