2013 Flu vaccines are now available at OneHealth…

The Influenza vaccination is FREE for these people who are most at risk.  These include:

  • People aged 65 years or over
  • people who have an ongoing health condition eg asthma, diabetes, a heart of lung condition.
  • Women who are pregnant

The susidised flu season ends 31st July 2013.

$30.00 is the fee for a non-subsidised flu vaccine and no appointment is necessary. However, Enrolled patients do have the option of booking an appointment with the Practice Nurse.

Influenza can be a serious illness

Influenza, commonly called the flu, can be a serious illness that is sometimes fatal. Infection with the influenza virus may lead to a stay in hospital, for any age group, but particularly if you are elderly or have an ongoing medical condition.  Being fit and healthy will not stop you getting the flu.

Even if you do not end up in hospital, influenza can keep you in bed for a week or more, preventing you from doing work, sport or just about anything that requires leaving the house.

Influenza virus is different from a cold virus. A cold virus only affects the nose, throat and the upper chest and lasts for a few days

Influenza spreads very easily and up to 1 in 5 people still get influenza every year.

By immunising against influenza you can protect yourself and decrease the chance of bringing it home to a baby, older relative, or someone with a medical condition who could develop serious complications from influenza.

Influenza Vaccine Composition for 2013

The formulation of influenza vaccines for use in New Zealand and Australia is determined each year by the Australian Influenza Vaccine Committee (AIVC) based on information and recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO).  The AVIC met on 3/10/2012 and agreed to adopt the WHO recommendations.  The influenza vaccine for the New Zealand / Australian 2013 influenza season contains the following three virus strains:

A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
A/Victoria/361/2011 (H3N2)-like virus
B/Wisconsin/1/2010-like virus

Common questions people have about Flu Vaccination…

Q. If I receive a flu vaccination, how long does the protection last?

Immunity to the strains in a flu vaccine wanes within 6 – 12 months following vaccination, so it is important that annual vaccinations be administered 

Q. How long does it take for the flu vaccine to work in my body?

The vaccine takes approximately 10 – 14 days to provide protection after vaccination. It is therefore recommended that the flu vaccine be given in March – May, before the influenza transmission season begins. If you are exposed to a flu virus shortly before, or within 14 days of being vaccinated, you may still catch the flu.

Q. Does flu vaccination work?

The flu vaccine does work. It is up to 90% effective in healthy adults. Influenza vaccination reduces hospitalisation and deaths by 20% to 50%.

Q. Will having the seasonal flu vaccine protect me from getting “swine flu”.

The 2013 vaccine contains an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1) – like virus strain that covers pandemic (H1N1) 2009 “swine flu” virus.

 

Q. Why should I have a flu vaccination every year?

 

Immunity to the strains in a flu vaccine wanes within 6 – 12 months following vaccination. The changing nature of the influenza virus means that new strains are constantly appearing. In most years, a new flu vaccine is developed to protect against the predominant flu strains predicted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to circulate in that particular year. WHO devotes significant resources to maintaining global surveillance on dominant flu strains each year in the Northern and Southern hemispheres.

Q. Can you get influenza (“the flu”) from having the vaccine?

NO. Flu vaccines do not contain the whole virus – only the part of the virus that triggers your body to produce antibodies.

Q. Will receiving a flu vaccination protect me against the common cold?

NO. By vaccinating against the flu, you are providing protection against a serious viral illness. Flu vaccination does not protect you against the common cold. A flu vaccination will only provide protection against the strains of influenza virus present in the vaccine.

Q. Will an anti-viral prevent me developing influenza?

NO. Antivirals will only help relieve symptoms but not prevent infection from the influenza virus.The best protection is still flu vaccination.

Q. Are there any side effects?

Pain, swelling, redness, and / or, tenderness around the injection site are the most frequent side effects, but, in general, occur in only a small number of patients. The majority of side effects disappear within 1-2 days.

Q. Can anyone have a flu vaccination?

NO. People who are known to be allergic to egg protein (including chicken meat, chicken feathers & eggs) should not have the flu vaccine as trace amounts of egg protein may remain in the flu vaccine. If you have a temperature before vaccination, or have had a previous reaction to any vaccination, please discuss this with the vaccinator.

Q. I am (or could be) pregnant. Can I have the flu vaccine?

YES. There is no evidence that influenza vaccine prepared from inactivated virus causes damage to the foetus. The seasonal flu vaccine is strongly recommended for women who will be pregnant during the flu season).  

Q. I don’t need a flu vaccination – I’m too healthy.

Healthy individuals are still at risk of influenza and may have symptoms for up to 10 days. On average, people with the flu will miss 3-5 work days.

Q. Why do I need immunisation every year?

Annual immunisation is recommended for two reasons: first, because protection lessens over time; and second, because each year influenza can be caused by different influenza viruses, that are not represented in the previous year’s vaccine.

Q. Can’t I build up a natural immunity to influenza?

Immunity develops after you have been exposed to a particular strain of the virus through infection or immunisation. Influenza immunisation prepares and boosts your immune system to help you fight the influenza viruses expected to be circulating each year.

Q. Can the vaccine give me influenza?

No. You cannot get influenza from the vaccine, as it does not contain any live viruses. However, some people will experience mild side effects such as muscle aches or headaches for a short time after vaccination.

In Summary…

There are obvious advantages to influenza vaccination: less time off work – less loss of income, less burden on your family, relatives and work colleagues, less strain on medical resources reduced absenteeism at work – YOU don’t feel miserable!