17-06-14 Written by 

Every year people ask questions about the ‘flu’ vaccine. The following is some information from the commonwealth government.

Influenza, commonly known as the flu, spreads easily from person to person through infected droplets in the air and by hands. Vaccination is the single most effective way of preventing and stopping its spread.

The flu virus infects your nose, throat and sometimes your lungs. It is different from a cold as symptoms such as fever, sore throat and muscle aches develop suddenly and last about a week. In some cases, severe illness and complications such as pneumonia and bronchitis can develop, resulting in hospitalisation and/or death. The flu can also make some existing medical conditions worse.

Why should I get the flu shot?

Since the flu virus is constantly changing, you need to get vaccinated every year.

Every year, the flu vaccine changes too, so it protects against the three strains of flu virus which are most likely to be around during that winter. You should be vaccinated in autumn to allow time for the vaccine to work before the flu season starts. Even if you received a flu shot towards the end of the last flu season, you should still be vaccinated again before this flu season.

The flu vaccine does not contain any live virus therefore you cannot get flu from receiving the vaccine.

Flu Vaccine Safety and Allergies

Vaccines, like other medicines, can have side effects, however the majority of side effects are minor.

Common side effects following flu vaccination include soreness, redness, pain and swelling at the injection site, drowsiness, tiredness, muscle aches and low grade temperature (fever). These side effects are usually mild and go away within a few days, usually without any treatment. You should contact your doctor if you are concerned or your child has a persistent high temperature.

Anyone with a severe reaction to eggs should talk to their immunisation provider before receiving the influenza vaccination.

There may be a small increase in the risk of fever when a child receives both the flu vaccine and the pneumococcal disease vaccine (13vPCV) at the same time. These two vaccines can be given separately, with a least a three day interval between them, to reduce the likelihood of fever. If you are concerned, you should discuss this option with your doctor or immunisation provider.

Australia has rigorous systems in place to monitor adverse events following vaccination to ensure the ongoing safety of the National Immunisation Program. In 2010, one vaccine bioCSL Fluvax® was shown to be associated with an increase in severe fever in some children less than 5 years of age. This vaccine has not been registered for use in children under five since 2012.

For further information visit the “Immunise Australia” website.

Last modified on 17-06-14

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