I think it’s fair to say that we’re all getting vaccination fatigue these days with all of the covid vaccinations over the last couple of years. However, this year more than ever, it’s highly recommended for all of us to get vaccinated against influenza (‘flu’).
Due to being in lockdown and restricted international travel for the last few years, we’ve recently had little to no circulating influenza. However, with international borders opening up and less restrictions, it’s anticipated, and there have already been, increased cases of influenza.
Influenza is a very contagious infection of the airways. It affects people of all ages. Although it can be a mild disease, it can also cause very serious illness in otherwise healthy people. It can require hospitalisation and can cause death.
Vaccination is a safe and effective way to protect you from serious disease caused by influenza. Yearly influenza vaccination is recommended for all people aged 6 months and over. Some people are more at risk of complications from influenza and are eligible for annual influenza vaccination free under the National Immunisation Program. Anybody else is still welcome, and encouraged, to come in and have the vaccine privately.
Children under nine years receiving their influenza vaccination for the first time require two doses of vaccine, spaced by a minimum of one month.
As the egg based influenza vaccines under the NIP only contain minute traces of egg protein, people with egg allergy, can be safely vaccinated with influenza vaccines.
When should I get my flu vaccine?
Annual influenza vaccine should occur anytime from April onwards to be protected for the peak flu season, which is generally June to September. The highest level of protection occurs in the first 3 to 4 months following vaccination. However, it is never too late to vaccinate since influenza can circulate in the community all year round. Pregnant women should receive the vaccine at any stage during pregnancy.
Covid and influenza – fact vs fiction…
Myth: Covid vaccination/infection protects against influenza
Truth: No, covid vaccination/infection protects against the covid virus, but has no effect on influenza
Myth: I can’t have the flu jab as I’ve just had covid
Truth: No, as soon as you are out of isolation and as long as you do not have a fever, you can safely have the flu vaccine
Myth: I can’t have the flu vaccine at the same time as my covid vaccine/booster
Truth: Influenza vaccines can be given on the same day as a COVID-19 vaccine
For more information, feel free to book in with one of our friendly GPs, book directly for a flu vaccine. Please also see the Department of Health for more information.