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Is it too late for a flu vaccine?

This winter's flu season is only just starting! Health professionals predict the greatest number of influenza cases will be in

September or October this year so it is not too late to be protected!

The maximum time of effect of the flu vaccine is 3 months and in fact its effectiveness is thought to wane at around 4 months so it is a perfect time to get your annual flu shot if you have yet to get around to it. Effectiveness of influenza immunisation across the community cannot be reliably predicted but studies have shown significant reduction in hospitalisation and mortality from influenza infection.

Floreat Medical supplies 3 types of influenza vaccine this year so make sure you get the vaccine appropriate to your needs. FluQuadri Junior is for children under 3 years old and FluQuadri or Fluarix Tetra is available for those over 3. Fluzone High dose is available for those over 65 years old. Currently we have supply of all of these vaccines. The vaccine for the over 65s only covers 3 strains of the influenza virus instead of 4 but offers a stronger level of protection. The improved protection of these vaccines, particularly against influenza A(H3N2) is likely to outweigh any loss of protection against the alternative B strain not included in the trivalent vaccine (TIV). However, if neither TIV is available, vaccination with a QIV is better than providing no vaccination. This has been a new development this year in an attempt to target the fact that 90% of influenza deaths occur in those over 65 years of age.

At Floreat Medical we offer vaccines at a nominal cost and all visits for influenza immunisations will be bulk billed. Some patients will be eligible for government funded vaccination ie. no cost. These include children between 6 months and 5 years old, anyone over 65, pregnant women, ATSI from 6 months, and anyone over 6 months who have a chronic cardiac, respiratory or neurological disease, Diabetes or other metabolic disease, renal or haematological disease or between 6 months and 10 years on long term aspirin.

Don't forget that children under 9 require 2 doses of the vaccine one month apart for their first vaccination; after that flu vaccination is annual.

And lastly, the flu vaccine does NOT give you the flu! The vaccination contains no live virus. Fever and muscle aches can occur in 1-10% of people and represent an immune response that they are generating. It is self limiting and generally mild.

Why get your flu vaccine with me at Floreat Medical rather than at the chemist? At Floreat Medical all of our staff are trained in resuscitation and first aid. We have nurses and doctors on hand to manage anaphylaxis or side effects. Although rare, after any immunisation, it is prudent to monitor for acute adverse effects and this can only be done in a controlled medical environment.

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