Frequently Asked Questions
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FAQ - Flu Shot Questions
What is the Flu (Influenza)?
The flu is a highly contagious respiratory infection which spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or by indirect contact with surfaces that are contaminated with respiratory secretions (such as door handles, bench tops, pens)
The flu is more than the common cold. Some people may have mild symptoms, but others may experience severe illness, hospitalisation and life-threatening complications.
What is a Flu Vaccine?
The flu vaccine contains inactive particles of the flu virus that stimulate the body’s own natural defense mechanism (the immune system) to help develop protection from the virus.
How does a Flu vaccination protect me from the flu?
A flu vaccination can help to protect you and your family from infection caused by the virus. The more people that are vaccinated in the community, the less likely it is for the disease to spread. If you have been vaccinated, when you encounter the virus, your body is better prepared to destroy it, which helps prevent you becoming unwell.
When should I get a Flu Vaccine?
The best time to get a flu vaccine is in autumn (from late March to May) prior to the winter peak flu season which usually occurs between June and September.
How long does the Flu Vaccine take to be Effective?
Protection from the vaccine is expected to develop two to three weeks after immunisation and is expected to last for the whole season, but optimal protection occurs within the first three to four months after immunisation. You should not delay immunisation until closer to winter, as the flu can occur at any time, and the peak of the flu season may come earlier than expected.
Can the Flu Vaccine cause the Flu?
No. There is no live virus in the flu vaccine so you cannot get the flu from the vaccine.
Are there any Side Effects to the Flu Vaccine?
You may experience some mild side effects such as sore, red arm at the injection site, and/or tiredness, muscle aches headache or low-grade fever. This is your body’s immune response to the vaccine, not the actual flu illness itself. These symptoms usually resolve within a couple of days but if you have any concerns, please speak to your Pharmacist or Doctor.
In a small number of people, there may also be a risk of other effects such as fainting at the time of vaccination, or if you have Guillain-Barre syndrome, there may be a risk of neurological symptoms. If either of these are an issue for you, please mention this to the Pharmacist prior to you getting your vaccination.
Who should have a Flu Vaccine?
Almost everyone can benefit from having the flu vaccination. Even if you’re fit and healthy, you could pass the virus onto someone who is at risk of becoming very unwell if they develop the flu.
Yearly vaccination is very important for people who are at highest risk of serious complications from flu, such as:
- Adults over 65 years of age
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women (the flu vaccine is safe at all stages of pregnancy)
- People with weakened immune systems
- People who smoke
- Infants and young children (6 months to 5 years of age)
- People with long-term health conditions such as heart disease, chronic lung disease such as CPOD and asthma, chronic liver disease and many more
- Homeless people
- Occupational groups
- carers and household contacts of people in high-risk groups
- residents, staff, volunteers and visitors to aged care and long-term residential facilities
- essential services providers
- Travellers (when travelling during flu season)
Some of these high-risk groups may be eligible for a free flu vaccine under the National Immunisation Program. For further information, please speak to your Pharmacist or Doctor for more information.
Is there anyone who Shouldn’t have the Flu Vaccine?
Customers should not have the flu vaccine if there is a known allergy to eggs or chicken feathers, or if they’ve had a known allergic reaction to a vaccine in the past. Speak to your Pharmacist or Doctor for more information.
Is a Prescription required for a Flu Vaccine in a Pharmacy?
No, a prescription for a flu vaccine is not required.
Why do I need a Flu Vaccine every Year?
The flu virus is constantly changing so the vaccine is updated each year to ensure it contains the most recent and common circulating strains.
Also, a person’s immune protection from influenza declines over time, so annual flu vaccination is recommended.
Is the Flu Vaccine Safe?
The flu vaccine meets Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration standards and has been available for over 50 years
What happens when I get a Flu Vaccine in a Pharmacy?
Advantage Pharmacies are committed to providing the flu vaccination service this year to as many people as possible, whilst focusing on the health and safety of both our staff and our customers.
We will be following all COVID safe practices and guidelines, including private consultation areas, hand hygiene and sanitisers for both immuniser and customer use, social distancing whilst in the pharmacy and cleaning and disinfection of all hard surfaces in between appointments.
Advantage Pharmacies follow all professional, State and National guidelines regarding immunisation services within the pharmacy setting.
Prior to your vaccination, you will be asked to complete a consent form and asked some questions about your general health and if you’ve had any previous reactions to vaccines.
A trained pharmacist will administer the flu vaccination, and then you will be required to remain in the pharmacy for a further 15 minutes where you can be observed, just in case of any unlikely adverse reaction. (If you are unable to remain in the pharmacy for the 15 minutes after your vaccination, you must sign an Immunisation Monitoring Release Form and hand this to the Pharmacist prior to you leaving the premises).
Will there be a Record of my Flu Vaccination?
Yes, all immunisations administered in a Pharmacy are recorded on the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR). Your Medicare number plus other personal details are used to ensure accurate recording of your immunisation.
Is there an Age Limit on who can get a Flu Vaccine in a Pharmacy?
Age restrictions apply and vary according to state or territory as to who can get a flu vaccine in a pharmacy, however most pharmacies can vaccinate adults and children aged 10 years and over. Please check with your local Advantage Pharmacy prior to booking.
Can you get the Flu Vaccine if you’re Pregnant?
<h6 class="font_6">The flu vaccine is safe for pregnant women. Pharmacists are able to vaccinate pregnant women in some states and territories, depending on relevant legislation. Please speak to your pharmacist to ensure they are able to vaccinate pregnant women. </h6>
What if I am aged over 65+?
An enhanced version of the flu vaccine is available for people aged 65 years or older. This vaccine is designed to increase the immune system's response to the vaccine and cover against the strains more common and severe in older people. The vaccine is only accessible through the National Immunisation Program. People aged 65 years or older should speak with their pharmacist or doctor prior to booking a flu immunisation.