Why get immunised?
Influenza or rather the flu is a highly contagious disease and immunisation is the best protection against it. Everyone is encouraged to get it, even if they are healthy. This is because influenza is easily spread by coughing, sneezing, or touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your mouth or nose, you can spread germs to others. This includes those who are at serious risk of complications if they get influenza such as young children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with chronic medical conditions.
When should you get immunised?
For best protection against influenza, people are strongly advised to get the influenza vaccine every year. This year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is advised to get the influenza vaccine as soon as it is available. Australians are recommended to get the flu vaccine from mid April onwards.
Note: It takes up to two weeks to build protection
Why do you need one every year?
Because the most common strains of the virus that cause influenza change every year. The vaccine also changes every year to match these strains.
Who should be getting it?
Anyone who wants to protect themselves against influenza can talk to their doctor about getting immunised. It is recommended the following get one every year:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over, for free under the National Immunisation Program (NIP)
- People aged 6 months to under 5 years, for free under the NIP
- People aged 6 months or over who have medical conditions that mean they have a higher risk of getting serious disease, for free under the NIP
- Pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy, for free under the NIP
- People aged 65 years or over, for free under the NIP
- All children over 6 months and all adults
- Women who are planning a pregnancy
- People who live or work in aged care homes or long-term facilities
- Homeless people, and the people who care for them
- Healthcare workers
- People who live or work in the same household as someone who is at high risk of serious disease from influenza
- People who work in early childhood education and care
- People who work in the chicken or pig industries, if there is an outbreak of bird flu or swine flu
- People who are travelling overseas.
How much does it cost?
Vaccines covered by the NIP (See above) are free for people who are eligible. Eligible people get the vaccine for free. Craigieburn Central Medical Centre is a bulk billing clinic. This means the consultation for the vaccination is also covered under Medicare. If you do not have a Medicare card, there may be a small consultation fee along with the vaccine.
If you are not eligible for a free vaccine, you will need to pay for it. The cost depends on the type of vaccine and the formula as different people from different age groups require different variations of the vaccine. You can call ahead of time and ask one our friendly receptionist staff more about how much it will cost you
What about side effects?
They are rare and if present, are mild and only last a day or two. If you are concerned, you can talk to your doctor about possible side effects, or if you or your child have possible side effects that worry you.