Here’s to a better understanding of flu vaccinations:
- Why is it recommended to get a flu vaccine?
Annual flu shots reduce your likelihood of catching the seasonal flu as well as the severity of flu symptoms if you do get infected.
- Who are ideal candidates for yearly flu vaccination?
People aged 6 months and up, and anyone who wishes to lessen their chances of getting sick with the flu and minimise the risk of spreading the disease to others.
- Am I eligible for a free flu vaccine?
More and more companies are offering free shots to their employees during annual flu vaccinations or wellness programs. The seasonal flu vaccine is also given for free and strongly recommended to high-risk groups, as part of Australia’s National Immunisation Program.
- Why are Aboriginal children given the flu shot for free?
Since 2015, the flu vaccine is administered for free to Aboriginal children aged 6 months to 5 years old. They are at greater risk of serious illness, complications, and more likely to die from the flu than non-indigenous children.
- What can I do if I’m not eligible for the free flu vaccine?
Your doctor can write a prescription allowing you to collect the flu vaccine at your expenses from a local pharmacy. You may also be charged a consultation fee at the doctor’s office. Corporate Care may be of help in bringing costs down through flu vouchers you can easily obtain online.
Important! Collect the flu vaccine immediately prior to your appointment for the flu jab, for it has to be constantly kept at certain temperatures (2-8 degrees Celsius) to remain effective.
- Where can I get my flu shot?
Flu vaccination can be availed from local doctors. Low-cost flu shots are also provided by local council clinics and chemists such Chemist Warehouse and Priceline amongst others. If you’re an employee, it may be worth asking your employer to consider organising annual workplace flu vaccinations.
- How much does a seasonal flu vaccine typically cost?
You can expect to pay anywhere between $10 to $25 for a flu vaccine. For more information, contact your local pharmacy, doctor, or council clinic. Companies who care enough for their employees provide free annual corporate flu vaccinations to their entire workforce.
- When is the best time to get vaccinated?
A timely vaccination would be right before the flu season, which begins during Autumn’s transition months (March/April/May). The sooner the better, since the flu vaccine requires ample time of about 2 weeks to work.
- How often do I need to get the flu shot?
It’s recommended that you get vaccinated every year to stay protected against the different kinds and most recent strains of flu. Even if it’s found that main flu strains haven’t changed for the current year, getting the flu shot is still recommended to once again acquire year-round immunity.
- How effective is the vaccine against flu?
While there’s not one vaccine that’s 100% effective, the flu vaccine offers a good level of protection to healthy individuals, as backed up by evidence. Optimal vaccine effectivity takes place up to 2 weeks after being injected and continues to protect for up to a year.
If you’ve been previously vaccinated and you still inevitably catch the flu, you’ll be less likely to get severely ill and develop health complications.
- Is the flu vaccine safe?
Like vaccine effectiveness, it’s a fact that no vaccine is 100% safe. Flu vaccines are comprised of inactive (killed) viruses such that it cannot possibly give you the flu. Those who develop the flu post-vaccination generally have been infected even before the vaccine took effect, and it’ll be a milder case of flu.
Flu-like symptoms may show up to 48 hours after receiving a flu shot, but are mild and only a natural immune system response. For people with allergies or have concerns about flu vaccine side effects, it’s advisable to discuss the matter with their trusted doctor or immunisation provider. Professionals have the proper training to screen for allergic reactions prior to vaccine administration, and also treat any reaction following the flu jab.
- Is it safe to get the flu shot if I’m pregnant?
Yes. A flu jab is recommended across all stages of pregnancy without putting pregnant women or their babies at risk. The safety of seasonal flu vaccine is less concerning than getting sick along the way.
- Does the flu vaccine have potential side effects?
Same when taking any medication, unexpected reactions to the flu vaccine may develop in some people.
Common side effects of the seasonal flu shot include:
– headache or muscle aches
– low grade temperature
– tiredness or drowsiness
– feeling unwell in general
The following may develop at the injection site:
– a temporary small lump
– pain, redness and swelling
Severe allergic reactions are very rare and bound to occur within 15 minutes upon getting vaccinated. Vaccine providers will typically advise you to stay put during this time, inform you of potential side effects, and what to do should you have a reaction.
- What to do if I experience any side effects?
Side effects, if at all experienced, are minor and short-lived. Mild reactions show within 6-12 hours and usually resolve on its own without any need for treatment.
Infants and children who develop a fever above 38.5 degrees Celsius can be given paracetamol if not contraindicated (please seek medical advice). If high temperatures persist, call your doctor or seek medical assistance.
When unsure or greatly concerned about post-vaccination symptoms you or your child may be experiencing, call:
–Healthdirect Australia for 24-hour health information advice
-Your doctor for advice or seek immediate medical attention
-An ambulance by phoning 000 or go directly to your closest Emergency Department
- What to do if I experience an unexpected reaction?
Report any adverse event you or your child may experience after getting the flu vaccine to:
ACT: ACT Health Department – 026205 2300
NSW: Connect to your local Public Health Unit by calling 1300 066 055
NT: NT Department of Health – 08 8922 8044
SA: Immunisation Section, SA Department of Health – 1300 232 272
TAS: Direct to TGA – 1800 044 114
VIC: SAEFVIC – 03 9345 4143
WA: WAVSSS central reporting service – 08 9321 1312
- Should I get a flu jab if I previously experienced an immediate allergic reaction?
No. Anyone who’s suffered severe and immediate allergic reactions to the flu vaccine should not get vaccinated again. If unsure, discuss first with your doctor or immunisation provider.