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Flu Vaccine 2020

In 2020 GHFP will stock and administer flu vaccines for everyone aged over 6 months. We have private flu vaccine in stock already, and we're expecting to receive government vaccines (free for eligible people, see below) some time in April.

We will announce Flu Vaccine Clinics as soon as the government stock arrive in April.

If you would like to have a flu vaccine before the government stock arrive, and you are aged under 65 years, please phone the surgery on 6169 0000 to book in. Don't book online!

The Influenza virus strains included in the 2020 quadrivalent inflenza vaccines are:

  1. A: Brisbane/02/2018 (H1N1) like virus
  2. A: South Australia/34/2019 (H3N2) like virus
  3. B: Washington/02/2019 like virus
  4. B: Phuket/3073/2013 like virus

To continue to provide the best possible protection for those aged 65 and over, an enhanced quarivalent vaccine will be government supplied.

Should I be vaccinated?

Annual influenza vaccination is recommended for everyone ≥6 months of age. It important to get the flu shot every year, as the virus changes each year. Influenza is the most common vaccine-preventable disease in Australia. Although it can be a mild disease, it can also cause very serious illness in otherwise healthy people. It can require hospitalisation and can cause death. The influenza vaccine is not 100% effective, but the more people who are vaccinated, the less likely that the flu will spread in the community. This is particulatly important in 2020 given the COVID-19 situation. 

Influenza vaccination is particularly recommended for:

  • children aged 6 months to <5 years
  • adults aged ≥65 years
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • people with medical conditions that increase their risk of influenza
  • homeless people
  • pregnant women (at any stage during pregnancy)
  • carers and household contacts of people in high-risk groups
  • residents, staff and volunteers in aged care and long-term residential facilities
  • commercial poultry and pork industry workers
  • people who provide essential community services
  • people who are travelling during influenza season

People with the following medical conditions have a higher risk of influenza:

  • immunocompromising conditions, such as HIV, malignancy, functional or anatomical asplenia, and chronic steroid use
  • receiving immuno-oncology therapy
  • received a haematopoietic stem cell or solid organ transplant
  • cardiac disease
  • Down syndrome
  • obesity
  • chronic respiratory conditions
  • chronic neurologic conditions
  • chronic liver disease
  • other chronic illnesses that need medical follow-up or hospitalisation
  • long-term aspirin therapy in children (aged 6 months to 10 years)
  • preterm infants (<37 weeks gestation)

When should I have the Influenza Vaccine?

Most people will develop immunity within two to three weeks of vaccination. Evidence suggests that protection following influenza vaccination may begin to wane 3-4 months after vaccination. As influenza usually occurs from June, with the peak around August, vaccinating during April is ideal.

Given the COVID-19 situation in Tasmania this year, the official advice from Public Health is to vaccinate as soon as possible from April. 

Most people should receive 1 dose of influenza vaccine each year. However, the following people should receive 2 doses, 4 weeks apart:

  • children aged 6 months to <9 years receiving influenza vaccine for the first time
  • people of any age receiving influenza vaccine for the first time after haematopoietic stem cell or solid organ transplant

How much does it cost?

At GHFP appointments made solely for the flu vaccine are bulk-billed. The only out of pocket expence will be $20 for private vaccines.

Those eligible for a free (government-funded) flu shot under the National Immunisation Program include:

  • people 65 years and over
  • pregnant women 
  • people with medical conditions that increase their risk of influenza
  • all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People from 6 months of age
  • children from six months to less than five years

People who are not eligible for a government-funded vaccine may purchase a private vaccine for $20

Some pharmacies and some employers also offer private flu vaccination. It's important to note that pharmacies and employers DO NOT have government funded vaccines, and DO NOT stock the more effective vaccine that the government supplies for people aged over 65 years. We strongly recommend that people aged 65 years wait and have the government funded vaccine with their GP.

Important: The only service provided at Flu Vaccine Clinic appointment is influenza immunisation. If you require other services, including prescriptions and blood pressure checks, please book a separate appointment.

Please note: New patients to Glebe Hill Family Practice will require a New Patient appointment and are not permitted to book into a Flu Vaccine Clinic as their first visit to the surgery.

Side effects

Mostly, the influenza vaccine is tolerated very well with minimal side effects. When side effects are experienced they commonly include local side effects (such as pain, tenderness, redness, swelling, bruising and hardness at the injection site), headache, muscle aches, feeling unwell, fever or shivering. In children, other common side effects include irritability, abnormal crying, drowsiness, appetite loss, cough, runny nose and vomiting.

For more information about the influenza vaccine, speak to your General Practitioner or visit www.health.gov.au/immunisation

To see the Consumer Medicine Information about the private influenza vaccine that GHFP is using in 2020 click here

 

This information was sourced from immunisationhandbook.health.gov.au/vaccine-preventable-diseases/influenza-flu