Influenza, commonly known as the flu, spreads easily from person to person through infected droplets in the air and by hands.
Vaccination is the single most effective way of preventing and stopping its spread.
The flu virus infects your nose, throat and sometimes your lungs. It is different from a cold as symptoms such as fever, sore throat and muscle aches develop suddenly and last about a week. In some cases, severe illness and complications such as pneumonia and bronchitis can develop, resulting in hospitalisation and/or death. The flu can also make some existing medical conditions worse.
The cost of the vaccine is $25.00 plus the cost of the consultation. This involves a 5 minute consultation which is bulk billed if you have Medicare, plus the $25.00 cost of the vaccine.
Who is eligible for the free flu shot?
The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone from six months of age but is available free under the National Immunisation Program for people at high risk of complications:
- People 65 years and over: People aged 65 years and over have the highest risk of complications associated with seasonal flu.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Persons: All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons 15 years of age and over are eligible for free flu shots. Influenza is a major cause of preventable sickness and death amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
- Pregnant Women: The flu vaccine is recommended for pregnant woman and can be safely given during any stage of pregnancy. Pregnant women are at higher risk of severe complications associated with the flu. Vaccinating against flu during pregnancy also provides protection for babies during their first vulnerable months of life.
- People whom are medically at risk. People with some existing medical conditions are more likely to experience complications from flu. These include anyone who is 6 months of age and over who suffers from the following:
- Diseases of the nervous system
- Impaired immunity
- Heart disease
- Severe asthma
- Chronic lung condition
- Chronic illness requiring medical follow up or hospitalisation in the past year
The Vaccine is Important
As the flu virus is constantly changing, you need to get vaccinated ever year.
Every year, the flu vaccine changes too, so it protects against the three strains of flu virus which are most likely to be around during winter. You should be vaccinated in autumn to allow time for the vaccine to work before the flu season starts. Even if you received a flu shot towards the end of last flu season, you should still be vaccinated again before this flu season.
For 2016 Flu Season, 28 Drummond North Medical Practice is providing the Quadrivalent ( 4 strain) flu vaccine to our patients. The flu vaccine is designed to protect against two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses. Please refer to the below website for additonal information on the Quadrivalent Flu Vaccine:
Safety and Allergies
Vaccines, like other medicines, can have side effects, however the majority of side effects are minor.
Common side effects following flu vaccination include soreness, redness, pain and swelling at the injection site, drowsiness, tiredness, muscle aches and low grade temperature (fever). These side effects are usually mild and go away within a few days, usually without any treatment. You should contact your doctor if you are concerned or you child has a persistent high temperature.
Anyone with a severe reaction to eggs or anyone who has had reactions to vaccines in the past should talk to their immunisation provider before receiving the influenza vaccination.
Our wonderful Nurses are more than happy to answer any questions you may have regarding the flu vaccine.