Brisbane Flu season and flu shots – some of your questions answered
So, it’s that time of year when the weather will start cooling down, even in Brisbane, and we are thinking about what we need to do to prepare for the inclement cool weather. Some people pull out their winter warm clothes and blankets, and often stock up on some Vit C.
It’s also the time where we start hearing about the flu season. No-one likes the thought of the dreaded flu, but it’s well worth preparing for and here we answer a few common questions about the flu vaccination and season ahead.
How often should I get vaccinated for the flu?
Each year the flu vaccine is changed to target the most common strains predicted in the community. It is therefore recommended that you get a flu vaccination every year (for anyone over 6 months of age).
When is the best time to get vaccinated?
Many think of the flu as being a mid-winter illness, however, the season generally starts mid-March. It is therefore best to arrange your flu vaccination as soon as it becomes available. Stocks are normally available at doctor’s clinics in April.
Does the flu shot work straight away?
It can take up to 15 days for the flu shot to be completely effective so consequently it’s best to book in earlier than later for your flu vaccination.
Is the flu shot safe?
The short answer is the flu shot is considered safe and in fact it is recommended that the highest risks groups in the community be vaccinated. Queensland Health advises it is extremely important for children between 6 months and 5 years of age as well as high risk groups to be vaccinated as they are at most risk of complications and hospitalisation¹.
Should my child a flu shot?
It is strongly recommended that children between 6 months and 5 years of age are given their flu vaccination as this age group are at greater risk of hospitalisation. However, all children over the age of 6 months are recommended to have the flu shot.
Should I get the flu shot if I am pregnant?
It is recommended that pregnant women and infants over 6 months of age have the flu shot annually.
Can the Flu shot be given with my COVID-19 Vaccine?
Yes. Flu and COVID19 vaccines can be co-administered at the same time.
How much does it cost to get the flu shot and who can get the free flu shot?
The flu shot is free to via the National Immunisation Program (NIP)1 through your GP and pharmacy for:
- People aged 65 years & over
- Pregnant women
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months & over
- All children aged 6 months and over to < 5 years
- People aged 6 months and over with certain medical conditions that increase their chance of severe influenza
Private Flu shots
At Top health Doctors clinics, the consults are bulk – billed if it is solely for your Flu shot. However, if you are not eligible for the NIP, there is a small cost for the Flu Vaccines.
What does herd immunity mean?
This is when there are enough people is any given community that are immunised or vaccinated against a disease or virus which limits the ability of the virus or disease to transfer from person to person. It’s may also be called ‘community immunity’. When you get vaccinated against the flu, you are contributing to the herd immunity in your community and protecting the most vulnerable as well as yourself!
Why do I need to get the flu shot?
We understand many in the community have ‘vaccine fatigue’ and it’s been a long few years with vaccinations and boosters being at the forefront of the media. However, the flu or influenza is a highly contagious viral infection and can lead to serious complications, hospitalisation or worse. We encourage you to maintain your annual flu shot with a short, single visit to your local clinic.
How should I book for the flu vaccination?
As mentioned, the flu season can start as early as mid-March so it’s best to have your flu vaccination as soon as you can in the season. Why not put your name down for your local Top Health Doctors clinic to notify you when the vaccines area available?