Flu Vaccine INFORMATION 2021

Flu vaccines 2021

 

Flu vaccines are being offered from April 2021 as usual.  Vaccines are now in stock, but as we have different vaccines for various age groups, stock levels will vary depending on which category you are in.

 

We have vaccines for over 65 year olds, under 5 year olds, and those 5-64 who do or do not have an eligible chronic disease.  Please choose your category carefully when booking.

 

Online bookings are now available – please click here.

 

If your category is not currently in stock you, when you click to book online you will be able to “Reserve” a vaccine.  Our online booking system will then notify you when the vaccine is in stock so you can complete the booking.  This is a separate system to our previous web sign-up form.

 

CategoryIn stock?Cost
Aged 65 and overYes, 14/04/21Govt funded
Aged under 5Not yetGovt funded
Aged 5-65 with a chronic conditionYes, 14/04/21Govt funded
Aged 5-65 with no medical conditionYes, 14/04/21$20

 

 

Covid vaccination timing

 

 

 

Flu vaccines are still important

 

Our doctors recommend that EVERYONE consider a flu vaccine this year, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Rates of flu transmission last year were very low, but this year is unpredictable because we don’t have such a strict lock-down in place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Key Summary Information For 2021:

 

 

  • Have your flu vaccine when it becomes available.  There is no rush due to low transmission at the moment.
  • Some people have suggested a booster dose might be needed if you have the vaccine very early, but we don’t recommend that. There is currently insufficient evidence on whether to recommend a booster dose for those vaccinated early in the season.
  • Over 65s receive a different formulation, to promote a stronger immune response in the body.  This is only available through your GP. All vaccines, including the over-65 version, are quadrivalent (four strains included).
  • Young children should be vaccinated.  There is a strong push to ensure as many children as possible receive their vaccine, and the Victorian government funds vaccines for those aged 6 months to 5 years.
  • Pregnant women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and those with chronic conditions remain a high priority for vaccination. Vaccinating yourself during pregnancy also protects your baby when it is born.

 

 

 

FAQ

 

 

From 2020 the higher potency formulations are also quadrivalent. They will be supplied to medical centres by the government for those 65 and over.  Make sure you have one of these new vaccines from your doctor, rather than the standard vaccines that might be on offer elsewhere.

People under 65 with ongoing medical conditions including diabetes should get the quadrivalent (4 strain) vaccine supplied free under the government scheme.  Not all chronic medical conditions qualify, so check at the link below or ask your doctor.

Doctors are recommending vaccination to more and more people.  Influenza killed at least 700 people in 2019 in Australia, and although most of those were elderly it does kill otherwise healthy people and causes thousands of hospital admissions. Please encourage family members to consider vaccinating themselves, even if healthy.  All children aged 6 months to 5 years and all pregnant women can have free vaccines. Doctors and authorities recommend that all children be vaccinated, even if they don’t get the free government vaccine. The more people around you that are vaccinated, the less transmission of influenza occurs. We can protect the people who are at high risk by vaccinating as many people as possible.  The cost ($20 at Westcare) is very reasonable for a treatment that genuinely saves lives.

There are some risks, as with any medical treatment, but they are rare.  It is common to hear people say they had a reaction to the vaccine, but when studied these reactions are usually mild and lasting a day or two (sore around the injection site, muscle aches, low grade fever).  As the vaccine does not contain any live virus at all, you cannot get the actual influenza from having the vaccine.  Serious allergies or complications are very rare indeed. Egg allergy is not a significant concern any more — the risk of reaction is still very low but if you are allergic to egg you should have your vaccine at a medical facility where you can be monitored for 30 minutes afterwards.

While you are having your flu vaccine, ask your doctor if you also need a pneumococcal vaccination.  This is free for over 65s, and is on prescription for others with chronic conditions.  A booster dose is usually recommended after 5 years, and there is also a new 13-valent pneumococcal vaccine available now.  The pneumococcal vaccines can be given on the same day as the flu vaccine, but not at the same time as a covid vaccination.