Make sure you and your Family are protected this winter from Influenza
Influenza (flu) is a highly contagious viral infection that spreads easily from person to person through coughing, sneezing and close contact.
Unlike a cold, symptoms such as fever, sore throat and muscle aches develop suddenly with flu and last about a week. In some cases, severe illness and complications such as pneumonia and bronchitis can develop, which can result in hospitalisation and even death. The flu can also make some existing medical conditions worse.
The flu virus can be especially dangerous for elderly people, pregnant women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and very young children, as well as for people with underlying medical conditions.
Getting the vaccine early allows you to develop protection against the flu well before the peak transmission period, which usually happens around August.
Flu symptoms tend to develop abruptly one to three days after infection, and can include: tiredness, high fever, chills, headache, coughing, sneezing, runny noses, poor appetite, and muscle aches. Most people who get the flu will suffer from mild illness and will recover in around four weeks. However, some people can develop more severe health problems, including pneumonia, bronchitis, chest and sinus infections, heart, blood system or liver complications, which can lead to hospitalisation and even death
National Immunisation Program 2017 seasonal flu shot
The 2017 flu shot will be available in April from GP surgeries and other immunisation providers.
The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone from six months of age, but is available free under the National Immunisation Program for people who face a high risk from influenza and its complications.
Influenza vaccination in children
Children can begin to be immunised against the flu from six months of age. Children aged 6 months to under 9 years of age require two doses, at least four weeks apart in the first year they receive the vaccine. While two doses in the first year are recommended, one dose does provide some protection and is preferable to receiving no doses. One dose of influenza vaccine is required in subsequent years. A single dose of influenza vaccine is given to all children aged nine years and over.
All vaccines currently available in Australia must pass stringent safety testing before being approved for use by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
In 2017, four age-specific flu vaccines will be available under the National Immunisation Program.
The four vaccines are:
- FluQuadri Junior® (Sanofi Pasteur) for children from six months to under three years of age.
- FluQuadri® (Sanofi Pasteur) for people aged 3 years and over.
- Fluarix® Tetra (GSK) for people aged 3 years and older.
- Afluria Quad® (Seqirus) for people aged 18 years and older.
What should I do if there is an adverse event?
You are encouraged to report any adverse event following the flu vaccine to your doctor or vaccination provider, to the Adverse Medicines Events Line on 1300 134 237, or to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) through the ‘Report a problem’ link on the TGA website.
For more information you can speak to your GP or Immunise Australia website. If you’re suffering from flu-like symptoms and it’s after hours, 247 Doctor Service is available. You can book online, via the free mobile app or by calling 1800 247 477