With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it is having on our health system, it is now more important than ever that we understand the important role of vaccines in preventing infectious diseases.
Why Should I Get the Flu Vaccine?
The Influenza (flu) vaccination is recommended every year for any person 6 months of age and over to reduce the likelihood of becoming ill with the flu and spreading it to the community. There is an emphasis on people who work in healthcare and those who deal with vulnerable people being vaccinated to reduce the probability of passing on the disease. Due to the changing nature of the flu and its ability to mutate, the vaccine only typically works for between 3-4 months. As the strains of flu virus can change from year to year, receiving a flu vaccine every year provides the best protection against current flu virus strains.
Where Should I Get My Flu Vaccine?
You can get your vaccine at any place which is part of the Australian Government’s National Immunisation Program (NIP) or your local pharmacy. It is important you contact the location you wish to be vaccinated at to check availability and eligibility criteria.
The NIP allows GPs to provide free flu vaccines to eligible people, including:
- People aged 65 and older
- Pregnant women
- All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months or over
- People aged 6 months and older with medical conditions that put them at risk of complications from the flu
- Children 6 months to less than 5 years old.
If you are ineligible for a free flu shot from your GP, you can still receive a flu shot at a cost either from your GP or your local pharmacist.
Pre-Immunisation Check List:
A Pre-Immunisation Check List helps your immunisation provider to see if you have any conditions which may prohibit you from getting the vaccine or if you require special consideration. Upon arrival to your desired vaccination location, you will be asked to fill in a pre-vaccination screening form. Some criteria you will be asked about include:
- Previous reactions to vaccines
- Known allergies
- Bleeding disorders
- Corticosteroid use (anti-inflammatory medication used to treat conditions such rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, asthma, allergies and many other conditions)
- If you are feeling generally unwell
- If you have a weakened immune system
It is important to note that if you do have one of the listed criteria, it does not necessarily prohibit you from getting the vaccine. It is best to call the location where you are receiving your vaccine to check if you still can have it. More information is available at https://immunisationhandbook.health.gov.au/vaccination-procedures/preparing-for-vaccination
What Are Some of the Side Effects of Getting the Flu Vaccine?
Some people may experience some of the following symptoms after having a flu vaccine:
- Low grade fever can become high fever in which case seek advice from your doctor
- Aches and pains
- Injection site reactions (redness, swelling, itching and burning)
- Allergic reactions
It is important to note that many of these side effects are often mild and short-lived. For more information on vaccine side effects, talk to your healthcare provider today.
Important Things to Remember About the Flu Vaccine
- It is the best protection against getting and spreading the flu
- You may be eligible for a free flu vaccine from your doctor under the national immunisation program – speak to one of our Pharmacists to see if you are eligible
- It helps protect the elderly and vulnerable from influenza
- It does not protect you against the Corona Virus (COVID-19)
At Star Discount Chemist, we offer a range of services to help support the health and well-being of our community. This winter, protect yourself by getting your flu shot from one of our specially qualified pharmacists. Contact your local store at https://stardiscountchemist.com.au/locations/