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After 2 years of extended lockdowns and social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Australia experienced very small numbers of flu throughout 2020 and 2021. However, as the country returns to a post-pandemic normal, cases are now on the rise with a potentially savage flu season heading out way.

The best way to protect yourself and your family from influenza viruses this flu season is by regular handwashing, social distancing and getting the annual influenza vaccine.

Influenza vaccination is recommended by the Department of Health for everyone, in fact most Australian states and territories have made the decision to offer flu vaccinations free for everyone.

To help keep you informed about flu vaccinations we’ve answered some common questions below:

1. What are common side effects from the flu vaccine?

Some of the common adverse reactions include:

  • Headaches (high grade)
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Redness, pain and swelling at the injection site
  • Fatigue

2. How long might these symptoms last?

Side effects typically onset within 12-24 hours after vaccination. Symptoms can last from several hours up to two days after vaccination.

3. Is it possible to have an allergic reaction to a flu shot?

Anaphylaxis is an extremely rare and serious allergic reaction to vaccines that affects less than 1 in a million people.
Anaphylactic reactions are immediate which is why clinics advise people to wait in the centre for 15 minutes after their vaccination to ensure they do not have an anaphylactic immune response and require further treatment.

4. What symptoms should be concerning to me after a flu shot?

If you are having difficulties breathing, experience fainting, seizures or have a temperature over 40 degrees, call triple zero.
Any other unexpected, persistent or severe side effects should be referred to a medical professional.

5. Will I get the flu after getting a flu shot?

No. All flu vaccines used in Australia contain ‘inactivated’ copies of the flu virus. Only live viruses can make people sick. Inactivated viruses allow your body to produce an immune response without getting sick.

6. What are the negatives of getting a flu vaccine?

Studies and data show there are a lot more benefits to getting the flu shot than not and flu shots can greatly reduce risk, severity and length of sickness with the flu.
The negatives some people find with getting flu vaccines is the risk of experiencing any side effects but the vast majority of people experience no or minor side effects.

7. Should I have a flu shot if I am pregnant?

Yes. The influenza “flu” vaccine will help protect both the mother and the unborn baby from developing serious cases of the flu.
Flu vaccines are also recommended for asthmatics, young children aged 6 months and over, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, pregnant women, the elderly and healthcare workers.

8. Are there long-term side effects from the flu vaccine?

There is no evidence-based research to suggest any long-term side effects of vaccines.

9. Can a flu shot weaken my immune system?

Harvard research suggests the annual influenza vaccine does not weaken your immune system and actually boosts it.

10. Can a flu shot cause autoimmune disease?

In very rare circumstances, people have experienced Guillain barré syndrome after receiving a vaccine.

11. Is it okay to have a flu shot and a Covid-19 vaccination?

Yes. Previous advice when COVID-19 vaccines were first introduced was to get the influenza vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine about 7 days apart. The existing data shows it is safe to get both the flu and a COVID-19 vaccine simultaneously.

12. Are there people who should not have a flu shot?

There is no medical condition that prevents people from getting flu shots. If anything, flu shots are recommended for immunocompromised people.
The only people who are advised against getting any vaccines are people who have previously experienced a severe allergic reaction including anaphylactic reactions to vaccines.

13. Is it too late to have a flu shot in 2022?

It’s never too late to vaccinate. Flu shots are usually introduced to the Australian public around March/April so by peak flu season in the winter months (June-September), immunity against the flu is at its highest. You can get vaccinated for the flu at any time of the year.

To enquire about flu vaccinations at your workplace, get in touch today.


Author Healthworks

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