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The flu vaccine – what you need to know

Until 30 June 2022, Queenslanders aged six to 64 are eligible to receive a free influenza vaccine from their GP or pharmacy. It comes as the State faces a severe outbreak of influenza A, with around 8,000 cases reported in the first half of 2022. Getting vaccinated against the flu is the best way to protect your child and others from influenza. Here’s what you need to know about influenza and the flu vaccine.

What is influenza A?

Influenza A is a type of virus that causes influenza (the flu), a highly contagious respiratory illness. Vaccination can protect you against influenza A. The other types of influenza virus are types B and C. Influenza types A and B are the most common cause of flu in Australia and can cause outbreaks and severe disease. Influenza type C can cause illness in children that is similar to the common cold. Most people who have flu are infected with the influenza type A virus. This virus has caused flu pandemics — the worldwide spread of a new disease.

Who should get the flu vaccine?

Queensland Acting Chief Health Officer Peter Aitken has urged everyone to stay up to date with their COVID-19 and flu vaccinations following an outbreak of influenza A. The flu vaccine is particularly recommended for high-risk groups including the elderly, children aged six months to five years and people with chronic illness. Children under five can become seriously ill from influenza. The risk is even greater in 2022 due to lower recent exposure.

What are the flu vaccine side effects?

The flu vaccine has a great safety record. Common side effects include mild pain, redness or swelling where the vaccine is given. These side effects usually last for a few days and go away without treatment.

Can I receive the COVID-19 and flu booster at the same time?

Yes, it is safe to receive both at the same time.

What is the difference between COVID-19 and the flu?

The flu and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a coronavirus first identified in 2019.  Flu is caused by infection with a flu virus. Compared to flu, COVID-19 can cause more serious illnesses in some people. COVID-19 can also take longer before people show symptoms, and people can remain contagious for longer periods of time. Both the influenza A and B viruses circulate in the community and change continually, with new strains coming out each winter. This is why yearly vaccination is recommended.

Free vaccines – are you eligible?

Free vaccines are provided for children between six months and five years old under the National Immunisation Program. People 65 and older, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, pregnant women and people with medical conditions are also eligible for free vaccines. For more information, chat to your doctor or visit the National Immunisation Program.

Bulk-billing doctors in Alexandra Hills

One Life Medical is a bulk-billing practice in Alexandra Hills. Services include immunisations, general surgery, antenatal care, health assessments, ECG’s, cryotherapy, travel medicine, employment medicals, driver’s medicals and more. Allied health practitioners regularly visit our practice. These include a physiotherapist, podiatrist, hearing specialist and dietitian.

To book an appointment at One Life Medical, please call 07 3824 8144. Alternatively, you can book online or download the app for iPhone or Android devices and make bookings directly from your phone. For further information, please call reception on 07 3824 8144.

Flu (influenza) | Australian Government Department of Health

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