As Sydney’s temperature finally begins to head south, this is an important public health safety message to all readers: be prepared for this year’s flu season and get vaccinated!
For your convenience, I have taken the information from the New South Wales government’s NSW Health website.
There are four vaccines available for this year’s seasonal influenza vaccination program: Fluvax®, Fluxax Junior®, Vaxigrip® and Influvac®. The vaccines are distributed in pre-filled syringes of 0.5mL (dose for adults and children 3 years+) and 0.25mL (dose for children 6-35 months’).
The vaccines this year provide protection against three strains of influenza:
- Influenza A (H1N1, otherwise known as swine flu),
- Influenza A (H3N2), and
- Influenza B.
Generally, seroprotection will be achieved in 2-3 weeks and post-vaccination immunity can extend from 6-12 months.
Common local reactions include swelling, redness and pain. With respect to the body as a whole, common side-effects includes headaches, fever and malaise.
Free vaccines for you
If you fall into the below categories, you are eligible for the free seasonal influenza vaccine in 2010:
- All people aged 65 years and older,
- All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 15 years and over,
- All people aged 6 months and over who are at risk of severe outcomes from seasonal influenza, such as those with chronic conditions, including cardiac disease, cystic fibrosis, diabetes and renal failure (see the Australian Immunisation Handbook, 9th edition, pp.190-191, for more information), and
- Pregnant women.
If you fall into the below category, you are eligible for the free pandemic influenza vaccine (for H1N1 protection):
- All people aged 6 months and older.
Contact your medical practitioner for more information.
Seek medical guidance
Seek the advice of your medical practitioner should you have any further questions regarding these vaccinations.