2021 INFLUENZA VACCINE

Help protect against Influenza

Vaccination is the best defence against the Flu. By getting your flu vaccination you’re not just protecting yourself, you’re also protecting vulnerable people who cannot receive the vaccine themselves such as young babies less than six months old and those who have low immunity.

Private Flu Shots are available at some MyClinic’s for $25.00 each. Call ahead to check stocks. 

What is the flu?

Influenza (flu) is a contagious illness of the respiratory tract caused by influenza viruses. It can cause severe illness and life-threatening complications.  Influenza is spread by contact with respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

What is the difference between a cold and the flu?

Flu is not the same as a common cold.  While a cold and the flu are both caused by viruses, and some of the symptoms are similar, the symptoms of flu are more severe and last longer than those of a cold. Flu is a serious disease that can lead to:

  • Bronchitis
  • Croup
  • Pneumonia
  • Ear infections
  • Heart and other organ damage
  • Brain inflammation and brain damage
  • Death.

What are the signs and symptoms of the flu?

Symptoms usually start about 1 to 3 days after catching the flu and can last for a week or more.  Some people can be mildly affected, while others can become seriously ill.

The most common symptoms of the flu include:

  • Runny nose or sneezing
  • Cough or sore throat
  • Fever and chills
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea (more common in children).

The flu can cause serious complications, particularly in children, the elderly and those with underlying medication conditions. This is why the flu is more serious illness than the common cold.

How to relieve flu symptoms?

If you have any flu-like symptoms it is important to get tested for COVID-19 immediately, even if your symptoms are mild.

In most cases you can treat the symptoms of a mild flu yourself. Most people will get better by themselves within 7 to 10 days and without any treatment.

Some things you can do to relieve flu symptoms include:

  • Getting plenty of rest
  • Drinking plenty of water and other non-alcoholic fluids to prevent dehydration
  • Keeping warm
  • Eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables
  • Avoiding exposure to cigarette smoke if possible
  • Inhaling steam from a hot bath or shower in a closed room to help relieve a blocked nose – remember to always directly supervise children near hot water

There are also several medicines available to ease cold and flu symptoms, such as pain and fever.

How does the flu vaccine help?

Vaccination is a safe and effective way to protect you from serious disease caused by influenza.  By getting vaccinated against influenza, you can also help protect other people, especially people who are too sick or too young to be vaccinated. The more people who are vaccinated in your community, the less likely the disease will spread.

Annual immunisation is recommended as the influenza virus is constantly changing, and the vaccine changes accordingly.

As well as vaccination, it is important to continue practicing good hand hygiene, covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, and staying home when you are unwell to minimise the spread of the flu.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS...

What is the flu vaccine?

The flu (influenza) vaccine contains inactive particles that stimulate the body’s natural immune response to build resistance to infection. Each year, the strains within the flu vaccine are updated on the recommendation of the World Health Organisation based on global information.

Why should I consider getting the flu vaccine?

Influenza is the most common vaccine-preventable disease in Australia. Although it can be a mild disease, it can also cause very serious illness in otherwise healthy people. Annual immunisation is the most effective way to reduce the risk of getting the flu and reducing the spread within the community.

When should I get vaccinated?

The best time to have a flu vaccination is autumn each year, prior to the peak of the flu season, which usually occurs between June and September. This is because your immunity is strongest and most effective 3 to 4 months after you are vaccinated.

Can I get the flu vaccine and still get the flu?

The flu vaccine provides the best protection available against the flu, however, the vaccine is not 100% effective, and effectiveness can vary from year to year and amongst different patient groups.

What type of vaccines are provided?

The flu vaccine provided is the quadrivalent (four-strain) vaccine, in line with World Health Organisation recommendations. It is registered with the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

Do I need a prescription to get the flu vaccine?

Some MyClinic clinics will have private flu shots available for $25.00. Those clinics where private flu shots are not available, the GP can provide your with a script to purchase your vaccine from the pharmacy.

Please contact your MyClinic to find out about stock levels.

Is there a delay between when I receive the flu vaccine, and when it starts to work?

Immunity post-vaccination does not occur immediately. There is a lag period of two to three weeks as the body creates antibodies to protect you against the flu.   

When is the best time to have a Flu Immunisation?

The flu vaccination is designed to protect you against the peak winter flu season. The best protection against influenza occurs with the first 3 to 4 months following vaccinations. Protection from the vaccine is expected to develop two to three weeks after immunisation. With each season, and sometimes even within the same year, there can be different flu strains so annual vaccinations are recommended.

Are there any side effects?

The influenza vaccine can cause side effects. Common side effects may include: 

  • Localised pain, redness. itching and swelling at the injection site
  • Drowsiness or tiredness 
  • Muscle aches
  • Low-grade fever

These symptoms usually resolve within two days but if you have any concerns, please speak to your GP or clinic Nurse.

In some instances, there may also be a risk of other effects such as fainting. If you have Guillain-Barre syndrome, there may be a risk of neurological symptoms. If either of these are relevant for you, please inform your GP before your vaccination.

Can everyone have the vaccine?

The Australian Government recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months has the flu vaccine every year. However, it is important to note that customers should not have the flu vaccine if there is a known allergy to eggs or chicken feathers if they’ve had a known allergic reaction to a vaccine in the past. Some customers may be eligible for a free flu vaccination under the National Immunisation Program, please see your GP for more information.

What aftercare is involved?

We recommend that you remain in-store, or nearby, for 15 minutes after receiving your vaccination so that the staff can monitor any reactions, and answer any queries or concerns you may have.

I’m pregnant…can I get the flu vaccine?

The vaccine that is provided is deemed safe for pregnant women. Some patients may be eligible for a free flu vaccination under the National Immunisation Program, please see your GP for more information.

What if I am over 65+?

People aged 65 years and older can receive a newly registered adjuvanted QIV, Fluad Quad, specifically designed to provide increased protection by creating a greater immune response. Patients will be contacted when this is available.

How much does the vaccination cost?

The cost of the flu vaccination at MyClinic is $25.00. If you have a valid Medicare card and meet the government funded eligibility then vaccine will be free.

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