Why get the influenza 'flu' vaccine this year? (2022)


After two years of 'hard borders' in WA, and the subsequent re-opening a few months ago, health experts are predicting a possible severe influenza 'flu' season. With international (and domestic) travel now happening, the flu virus strains are circulating in our community again. Our health system is already under enormous strain, due to a range of factors, including COVID-19 infections and complex treatments that were delayed during the pandemic.

We can now administer the ‘flu’ vaccine for FREE for the whole month of June! Our pharmacists can vaccinate anyone aged 10 years and over. This includes teenagers, adults 18-64 years AND those aged 65 years and older.

Influenza, commonly known as the ‘flu,’ is a viral infection that can affect all of us in the community. Symptoms of the flu can range from mild to severe - including fever, runny nose, sore throat, muscle pains, coughing, weakness and tiredness. The infection is caused by the highly contagious influenza virus, of which there are two basic types (A and B).

It is often confused with the ‘common cold,’ which is a more common viral infection, usually causing a runny nose, sneezing and nasal congestion. There are more than 200 viruses that can cause the ‘common cold’, however, symptoms are normally mild and will resolve within 1-2 weeks. Influenza, however, is much more serious and can be life-threatening, so thankfully a vaccine is available to protect us and prevent the spread of the virus!

What is in the flu vaccine?

The vaccine contains an inactivated form of the virus, including 2 influenza A subtypes and 2 influenza B subtypes. Each year the vaccine is updated to provide cover for the strains that are most likely to dominate for the approaching flu season. The 2022 quadrivalent vaccine has been updated to provide cover for the Victoria, Darwin, Austria and Phuket strains of influenza.

Why get vaccinated?

Although hand hygiene and isolating ourselves at home while sick can help, vaccination is the best way we can protect ourselves from the flu. The influenza virus is usually spread through the air when someone coughs, sneezes or talks. You can also catch the flu from touching a contaminated surface with the virus on it, and then touching your mouth, eyes or nose. Getting your dose of the vaccine is the most effective method of preventing us from contracting the flu and, more importantly in some cases, preventing us from spreading it to those in our family or workplace that may be more susceptible to the virus.

If you are caring for or living with someone vulnerable to illness then getting vaccinated helps prevent you from being a carrier of the virus and reduce the spread to them!

The vaccine won’t protect you from contracting one of the many ‘common cold’ viruses, but it will protect you from influenza, which is much worse and potentially life-threatening in some groups of the community.

Can I get the flu from the vaccine?

No! This is a very common misconception. It is not uncommon to experience some mild ‘flu-like’ symptoms (including fever or body aches) in the 2-3 days following vaccination. However, it is impossible to contract the ‘flu’ from the vaccine itself, as it is not a live vaccine! Usually, any post-vaccine symptoms are caused by your immune system responding to the dose, which triggers the production of antibodies needed to fight the virus if it were to come into contact with your body.

When should I get vaccinated?

The ideal time to get vaccinated is any time from late April or early May, to provide cover over the peak months of a typical flu season (June to September).

If you are also eligible for your next dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, you can now receive your flu vaccine on the same day.

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