Please read this before getting vaccinated


You can download the PDF version here 2021 Influenza Vaccine Consent Information

Please read this before getting vaccinated.

Influenza ("flu") is a contagious disease caused by influenza viruses that spread around Australia each year. 

Influenza can occur at any time of the year but is more likely to occur between June and October. 

The flu spreads mainly by coughing and sneezing, and anyone can get the illness. 

Symptoms come on suddenly and may last several days. They can include fever/chills, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, cough, headache or runny or stuffy nose. 

Most people who get the flu need several days off work. Flu can make some people much sicker than others. Anyone can get seriously ill, but young children, people 65 and older, Indigenous people, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditions such as heart, lung or kidney disease, nervous system disorders, or a weakened immune system are more likely to get sicker. 

Flu vaccination is crucial for these higher-risk people and anyone in close contact with them. Flu can also lead to pneumonia and make existing medical conditions worse. It can cause diarrhoea and seizures in children.

Each year thousands of people in Australia die from flu, and many more are hospitalised. The flu vaccine is the best protection against flu and its complications. Flu vaccine also helps prevent spreading flu from person to person. 

Influenza Vaccine 

You are getting an inactivated flu vaccine which protects against four different strains of the flu. It does not contain any live influenza virus and cannot give you the flu. 

The strains in this year’s vaccines are: 

  • an A/Victoria/2570/2019 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
  • an A/Hong Kong/2671/2019 (H3N2)-like virus;
  • a B/Washington/02/2019-like (B/Victoria lineage) virus; and
  • a B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (B/Yamagata lineage) virus.

  • Flu viruses are always changing. Each year’s flu vaccine is made to protect against the four flu viruses that are likely to cause disease that year. 

    It cannot prevent all cases of flu, but it is the best defence against the disease. Flu vaccination is recommended every year. It takes about two weeks for protection to develop after getting the flu shot, and the protection lasts several months to a year. 

    Some illnesses that are not caused by the influenza virus are often mistaken for flu. The flu vaccine will not prevent these illnesses. The vaccine can only prevent influenza. 

    Special information for people aged over 65 

    People aged over 65 are more likely to get very sick from the flu, and traditional vaccines do not work as well in older people. As a result, an enhanced vaccine is recommended for older people you can only get from your GP. 

    We recommend visiting your GP to get this trivalent vaccine. This "enhanced vaccine" is free under the National Immunisation Program.

    If you do not think you will be visiting your GP, the vaccine we use in our flu programs will still provide more protection than not getting vaccinated at all.

    Who Should NOT Be Vaccinated? 

    People who are allergic to influenza vaccines or any of the vaccine components should NOT be vaccinated. People who have previously had Guillian-Barré syndrome should seek specialist medical advice before receiving the vaccination. 

    What are the Possible Side Effects of the Vaccine? 

    With a vaccine, like any medicine, there is a chance of side effects. These are usually mild and go away on their own within 1-2 days. Severe reactions are rare. 

    Common side effects following flu vaccine may include soreness, redness, swelling or burning at the injection site, muscle aches, low-grade fever, headache, and fatigue. 

    Management of Common Side Effects 

    Applying a cool, wet cloth to the site is an effective method to respond to redness or swelling.

    Taking paracetamol (please consult with your pharmacist or doctor prior. Always read the consumer medicine information) for low-grade fever is also recommended. If you are concerned, contact your GP.

    Sometimes small, hard lumps (injection site nodules) may persist for some weeks or months but are no cause for concern and require no treatment. If symptoms continue or you are concerned, see your GP. 

    Serious Side Effects 

    Severe allergic reactions are rare but could occur after any vaccine (estimated less than 1 in a million doses). Please stay in the vicinity of the clinic for 15 minutes after vaccination. If this occurs, advise the nurse immediately or phone 000 for an ambulance or attend your nearest hospital if the clinic has finished. Please see your GP if you are concerned about a possible reaction to the vaccine. 

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