It’s nearly that time again, although we are experiencing what appears to be an endless summer, soon the inevitable chill and the dreaded flu season is sure to kick in.
The 2018 annual flu vaccine will soon roll out across general medical practices, pharmacies, community health clinics and some workplaces and schools.
In some pharmacies, the flu vaccine is already on offer. But the Australian Medical Association (AMA) has urged people to hold off on getting this year’s vaccine, warning some pharmacies are offering vaccinations too early. The AMA has stated that individuals who are vaccinated too early in autumn might have lost protection by late in the spring when the virus has mutated.
So, when is the right time to get your flu shot? And is it necessary for everyone?
Who should get the flu shot?
The Australian Government recommends everyone from six months old wishing to protect themselves against the flu should get immunised.
Vaccination is a safe and effective way to protect yourself from flu; people who get vaccinated are at lower risk of getting an infection (and developing serious disease) than those who do not.
Flu shots are free for the following people:
Under the Federal Government’s National Immunisation Program, there are some people that are eligible for a free flu vaccine because they are most at risk. This includes:
- Pregnant women (at any stage of pregnancy)
- People aged 65 years and older
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged six months to five years
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and older
- People aged six months and over with medical conditions that mean they have a higher risk of getting serious disease (such as diabetes, severe asthma, lung or heart disease)
It’s also free for all children from 6 months to 5 years old not restricted to ATSI. Children having a flu shot for the first time will need to have 2 shots a month apart.
When is the best time to get your shot?
It can be a bit tricky working out exactly the best time to get your shot as flu activity tends to vary each year. Generally, the peak flu season is around July and August, but sometimes it can start as early as May, and sometimes the peak happens in September.
This is important because research shows the effectiveness of the flu vaccine may begin to diminish after three to four months. AMA and RACGP both agree that the best time to get the flu shot is towards the end of April and into the beginning the May.
Flu shots will be arriving shortly at Providence Medical practices, and we will notify our patients as soon as they are available. We also encourage you to follow us on Facebook to keep up to date with health alerts and what’s happening at the practice.
If you have any queries, please contact us today!