Everything you need to know about the flu shot

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Flu can be deadly and we’re being reminded of  the importance of getting an annual flu vaccination, particularly amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The flu shot is the most effective way to avoid getting the flu. So, who can get the flu shot? When should you get it? And, why is there a new vaccine every year?

The home doctor experts at House Call Doctor have all the answers you need.

Who can receive the flu shot?

The Australian Government recommends everyone over the age of 6 months should receive the flu shot every year. Getting vaccinated against flu helps protect yourself and the people around you from becoming seriously ill.

When should you get the flu shot?

The Australian flu season is around June to September, peaking in August. Your immunity is most effective three to four months after you receive the flu vaccination, so it is important to get your flu shot in April or May.

How does the flu shot work?

The influenza virus constantly changes, creating new strains, so the flu shot is designed to protect you against three or four strains circulating Australia. Unfortunately, the flu shot doesn’t give you a lifetime immunity, hence why you need to get vaccinated every year to be protected from that year’s strains.

What about allergic reactions?

People who have had severe anaphylaxis to the flu shot in the past should not have the flu vaccine. Those with a severe allergy to eggs should also not have the flu vaccine as eggs play a vital role in the manufacturing process.

Am I eligible for a free flu vaccine?

Australia has a National Immunisation Program that provides free vaccinations to those in our community who are at an increased risk. These people include:

  • People aged 65 years and over
  • Pregnant women
  • Indigenous Australians over six months of age
  • People with certain ongoing illnesses who are over six months of age.

Where can I get vaccinated?

Your local GP, community health clinics and some pharmacies can administer flu vaccinations.

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