Flu (Influenza) vaccine
The flue vaccine is the best method we have of reducing the number of infections and deaths from complications of the virus. The influenza virus has a unique way of changing its surface structure from year to year, so each year a new vaccine must be produced, which is why it is called the seasonal flu vaccine. Recent research has suggested that these vaccines may last only 3 to 4 months, which is why it is never too late to receive the vaccine while the flu is circulating in the community.
Under the National Immunisation Program Schedule, those considered to be at risk of complications from the flu can receive the vaccine for free. In Victoria, this includes:
- Those between the ages of 6 months and 5 years (and 15 years and over for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people)
- Those whose medical conditions put them at risk of flu complications
- Pregnant women
- Those aged 65 years and over
Come in and see us if you’re not sure if you are eligible for a free vaccine.
Side effects of the flu vaccine
Flu vaccines are safe and generally result in only mild side effects, such as drowsiness, muscle ache, pain at site of injection or mild fever. These side effects are usually mild and do not require any specific treatment.
Pregnancy and the flu vaccine
Pregnant women are at increased risk of complications resulting from the flu. The good news is that you can receive the flu vaccine at any stage of your pregnancy or while breastfeeding. If administered while pregnant, your baby will also be protected for 6 months after birth.
What is the flu?
Influenza, or the flu, is a highly contagious viral infection of the upper airways and lungs. Its typical time of circulation in Australia is between June and September, although in tropical and subtropical areas it can be present all year round. It is most dangerous in the elderly, children or those with a weakened immune system, with whom complications can occur.
Symptoms can include fever, sore throat, headache, muscle and joint pain and tiredness.
For more information please view the Better Health website.
For information on other vaccines, see also: