2018 – FREE FLU VACCINE – ARE YOU ELIGIBLE?

 

65 or over? – Aboriginal or TSI under 5? – Pregnant? – In the below ‘at risk’ group?

Key Points

  • Yearly vaccination is strongly recommended to maintain immunity
  • The flu shot is safe for children over 6 months, pregnant women (at all stages of pregnancy) and the elderly
  • Strains:   A\H1NI, A\H3N2, B\Yamagata, B\Victoria

There are 3 options for the 2018 Flu Vaccine, dependent on your eligibility:

 

a) Government Funded: 65 and over

  • Government funded SUPERCHARGED (Vaccine is 24% stronger than last year).
  • 3-strain flu vaccine only. B\Victoria is not included as it causes the least issues.
  • This vaccine cannot be purchased by anyone privately nor given to anyone not meeting age criteria.
  • Doctor’s visit bulk-billed with a valid Medicare card. No fee for the vaccine.
  • Not due to be released until the end of April to ensure immunity lasts into the flu season.

 

b) Government Funded: Age and Medical Criteria

6 months to 5 years OR Meets Medical ‘at risk’ criteria

  • Government funded. Not supercharged as not necessary.
  • Four strain vaccine.
  • Doctors visit bulk-billed with a valid Medicare card. No fee for the vaccine.
  • Not due to be released until end of April to ensure immunity lasts into the flu season.

 

c) Private:  Over 6 years and under 65  (not age or medically required)

  • $20 each or $15 for 3 or more patients.
  • Four strain vaccine.
  • Doctors visit bulk-billed with a valid Medicare card. Pay a fee to purchase the vaccine.
  • 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)

Flu strains can change from year to year and it is strongly recommended that flu shots are given before the flu season starts.

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 getting 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 severe complications resulting in hospitalisation.