What is the Flu Shot or Vaccine?
The flu vaccine, commonly known as the flu shot, is a vaccination against the 4 most common strains of influenza as recommended by The World Health Organization (WHO) for the Southern Hemisphere. The WHO makes these recommendations based on peer-reviewed evidence from research on the common strains that were prevalent in the Northern Hemisphere during their Flu season. The vaccine is generally administered as an injection in the arm and protects our immune systems from serious illness.
“It’s only the flu.” Should I get the Vaccine?
Even though most flu viruses have been stigmatised as being common and therefore less serious afflictions, the reality is that thousands of people are hospitalised by the flu every year. According to the NICD people who are at risk of getting severe influenza complications may be severely impacted by influenza, in many cases hospitalisation is required, and in extreme cases the virus can be fatal. The groups identified to be at risk of severe illness include HIV-infected persons, pregnant women, sufferers of chronic illnesses, the elderly and children under the age of 2.
Who Should get the flu vaccination?
Since the 2010-2011 influenza season the recommendation has been each year that everyone older than the age of 6 months should get their flu shot once per season. There are rare exceptions to this recommendation, however there are different flu vaccines approved for different groups of people.
Who Should not get the flu vaccination?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that the groups of people should not get their flu shots are children younger than 6 months old, people with severe and life-threatening allergies to the ingredients within the vaccines and people that have previously had severe allergic reactions to the flu vaccine.
Many people are unaware of their allergies or the ingredients of a flu vaccine, but this should not deter anyone from getting their shots as the healthcare practitioner administering the vaccine will ensure that a consultation has been conducted before hand. This consultation serves the purpose of making sure that the patient can safely receive their vaccine dose.
COVID-19 and the Flu Vaccine
Many people are under the misconception that if they have received the COVID-19 vaccine that they do not need the flu vaccine, however these vaccines do not serve the same purpose. So how are they different? Aside from the formulation and other fundamental differences, the answer is simply that the COVID-19 vaccine protects us against the SARS-CoV-2 Virus, and the flu vaccine protects us against influenza viruses. Although we should all be protected against both viruses it is recommended that these two shots should be received at least 14 days apart.
Where can I get my flu shot this year?
Many of our Alpha Pharm Pharmacies have stock of the four strain flu vaccine in their clinics and we are ready to take your bookings. Make a booking online here for your flu vaccine today or visit our pharmacy locator here to find your nearest Alpha Pharm Pharmacy.
Protect yourself, protect your community, get vaccinated today.