Flu Clinic – Robina Town Medical Centre

Have you had your 2020 Flu Vaccination?

Australians are being encouraged to get their flu vaccination earlier than usual this year. Have you had yours?

Now is an ideal time to get your flu vaccine. The flu is already circulating in the community and the regular flu season may coincide with the peak of current coronavirus pandemic.

 

Get your flu vaccine at Robina or Easy T Medical Centre

Our 2020 stock of flu vaccinations have arrived. 

This year both the Private and Government flu vaccines cover four strains of flu. You are eligible for a Government flu vaccine if you meet certain age and Medical criteria. If you are over 65 your vaccine is ‘supercharged’. Check your eligibility for a free flu vaccine here. 

Private flu vaccines are currently available for $20 each. 

How do I book?

You can ring the practice and Reception will make you an appropriate appointment with either your doctor or the nurse (depending on your doctor’s preference). 

Why get the flu vaccine?

The influenza vaccine doesn’t provide protection against Covid-19 but it does help to protect you from the influenza virus. Here’s a few reasons to get the flu vaccine this year:

1. Having a flu vaccine protects you, your family and the community. Seasonal influenza can lower your immunity, making you susceptible to other illnesses, including Covid-19. The flu can cause very serious illness in otherwise healthy people. Influenza is an infection of the airways which can cause severe complications.

2. Getting the flu vaccination protects others in your life, such as those who are too young or sick to be vaccinated, and vulnerable groups such as babies, older people and pregnant women.

3. A large number of flu patients may strain on our health system. If a significant number of flu patients and Covid-19 patients require urgent health care at the same time, lives may be at risk.

Who should get the flu vaccine?

The Australian government is recommending that everyone aged over 6 months is vaccinated against seasonal flu unless medically contraindicated.

It’s important to get the influenza vaccine every year. Influenza virus strains change each year, meaning last year’s vaccination does not target the virus strains that are circulating this year.

Children aged 6 months to 9 years who are receiving the flu vaccine for the first time will need to have two doses, 4 weeks apart.

Quadrivalent (4-strain) flu vaccines

Age-specific quadrivalent influenza vaccines (also known as QIVs) are vaccines containing 4 strains of the virus. These are available for people aged between 6 months and 65 years. For those aged 65 years and over, a new supercharged quadrivalent vaccine is available in 2020 which should be given in preference to other types of flu vaccines as it offers additional protection to this more at-risk age group.

Who is eligible for a free vaccine?

Vaccines covered by the National Immunisation Program (NIP) are free to those who are eligible.

Those eligible to receive 2020 NIP-funded influenza vaccines are:

  • pregnant women (at any stage of pregnancy)
  • people aged 65 years and over
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over
  • people aged 6 months to 4 years (new category this year)
  • people aged 6 months and over with medical conditions putting them at increased risk of severe influenza and its complications [4]

Vaccination side effects

Minor side effects can occur after any vaccination. These include mild fever and pain, redness or swelling at the injection site. Generally, these side effects don’t last for more than two days. Fortunately, serious side effects, such as allergic reactions, are extremely rare.

The flu vaccine is one of only two vaccines that are recommended during pregnancy (the other being whooping cough). It is safe to have the flu vaccine at any stage of pregnancy. Breastfeeding women can also safely receive the flu vaccine.

There are 3 vaccine options dependent on your eligibility:

a) Government Funded: 65 and over, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and those meeting ‘at risk’ medical criteria

  • Supercharged vaccine designed specifically for this group
  • This vaccine cannot be purchased by anyone privately nor given to anyone not meeting age or medical criteria
  • Doctor’s visit bulk-billed with a valid Medicare card
  • No fee for the vaccine
  • Available now

 

b) Government Funded: 6 months to 4 years

  • Supercharged not necessary for this age group
  • Doctors visit bulk-billed with a valid Medicare card
  • No fee for the vaccine
  • Available now

 

c) Private:  5 years and under 65  (not age or medically required) 

  • Doctors visit is bulk-billed with a valid Medicare card
  • $20 each 
  • Available now

Flu Vaccine – ‘At Risk’ Group:

Cardiac Disease

  • Cyanotic congenital heart disease
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Congestive heart failure

Chronic Respiratory Conditions

  • Suppurative lung disease
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Cystic fibrosis\Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease
  • Chronic Emphysema
  • Severe Asthma

Chronic Neurological Conditions

  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Seizure disorders
  • Other neuromuscular disorders

 

Other Chronic Illnesses 

  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Chronic metabolic diseases
  • Chronic renal failure
  • Haemoglobinopathies
  • Impaired immunity

 

Impaired Immunity

  • Infection, malignancy and chronic steroid use
  • Long term aspirin therapy in children ​(aged 6 months ​to 10 years)
  • HIV infection
  • Asplenia or splenic dysfunction

 

What is the flu?

The Flu or ‘Influenza’ is a highly contagious viral infection which is spread by contact with fluids and droplets from sneezes and coughs, or by touching surfaces touched by an infected person. Flu affects the nose, throat and sometimes the lungs.

Symptoms of the flu

Symptoms include:

  • High fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Poor appetite
  • Joint/muscle pains
  • Feeling sleepy, weak and fatigued

Complications of the flu

Flu season peaks in winter and people infected with the flu virus can become seriously unwell. Potentially life threatening complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis, chest infections and liver complications can develop and those in ‘high risk groups’ are more likely to experience complications resulting in hospitalisation.

If you or your family experience flu symptoms this year, please see your doctor.