Please read this before getting vaccinated

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.

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

Influenza Vaccine 

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

The Australian Influenza Vaccine Committee (AIVC) and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) have recently announced their recommendations for the 2024 southern hemisphere flu season. Good news—it's a four-strain vaccine! This egg-based quadrivalent vaccine aims to protect against the following flu strains:

  1. A/Victoria/4897/2022 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
  2. A/Thailand/8/2022 (H3N2)-like virus
  3. B/Austria/1359417/2021 (B/Victoria lineage)-like virus
  4. B/Phuket/3073/2013 (B/Yamagata lineage)-like virus

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

Flu vaccination is recommended every year. It cannot prevent all flu cases, but it is the best defence against the disease. 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 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 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 accessible 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 allergic to influenza vaccines or any 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? 

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

Following the flu vaccine, common side effects 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 response to redness or swelling.

For low-grade fever, take paracetamol (please consult with your pharmacist or doctor prior. Always reading the consumer medicine information is also recommended. If you are concerned, please 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 at 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.