Influenza (flu) is a highly contagious viral infection that spreads easily from person to person through coughing, sneezing and close contact (3). Whilst there are identified vulnerable groups in the community, unfortunately influenza and other viruses are non-discriminating and still cause significant morbidity to healthy strong people. Most people generally look like ‘death warmed up’ in the waiting room (they’re pretty easy to spot!). Some lasting effects may be heart failure, post-infection encephalitis (brain dysfunction/scarring), blood disorders and pneumonia (sometimes so severe it requires an Intensive Care Admission). These ongoing health issues are far-reaching than most side effects experienced from vaccination (see below).
Some vulnerable people are eligible for government-subsidised influenza annually if they have a chronic disease, are pregnant, over the age of 65 or are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (2). Accessing this free vaccination is best done through community General Practitioners.
Every year the virus changes - so does the vaccine
2017 seasonal Influenza vaccine entailed four different strains of inactivated (*not live) Influenza virus. VirtueVax will always endeavour to immunise with vaccinations containing the largest number of strains. Vaccination is the best way to reduce the risk of getting flu. Being vaccinated gives you protection against flu by building immunity to the virus and preventing transmission of the virus to other people. Vaccination is required annually, as immunity from the vaccine decreases over time and the vaccine can change each year to cover the current virus strains. Vaccination usually takes up to 2 weeks to be effective (2). Additionally, most people are also likely to be better protected against other similar strain variants that were not predicted to be required in the vaccination composition (1).
The flu season usually peaks in most of Queensland in July/August (2) but is still present all throughout the year just in lower numbers.
“How will I know it’s worked?” – the flu vaccine cops a lot of flack. If you get sick in the flu season, there are simple swabs and tests to confirm whether it is the flu or not. Always see your regular GP if you don’t feel like you are improving as the days pass by.
Quite often people report they became sick in the year they immunised for influenza and often blame it on the injection. The vaccine does not contain live flu viruses and cannot cause flu. However, some people may experience mild flu-like symptoms for up to 48 hours as their immune system responds to the vaccine (2). This is a reassuring immunity response and is a physical acknowledgment that our body has recognised the viral constituents and our army of immunity cells are hard at work creating antibodies (weapons).
Symptoms post-vaccination are something not to be confused with disease. Serious reactions to immunisation are rare but can happen. While some people may experience mild side effects such as pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site, these usually resolve quickly. If you or any staff have ever experienced anaphylaxis or have an EpiPen, please notify this to the VirtueVax team upon booking.
There really is much hearsay about the flu and its vaccine. Your best evidence is at hand and further FAQs are always overlooked. Please also don’t hesitate to ask any questions upon booking enquiry. If you want to learn more, the links below will connect you to evidence based websites.