The flu vaccine, also known as the influenza vaccine, is a preventive measure used to protect individuals from contracting the influenza virus, commonly known as the flu. Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses, which can lead to a range of symptoms, from mild to severe, and can even be fatal, especially in vulnerable populations such as the elderly, young children, and individuals with weakened immune systems.
Key points about the flu vaccine include:
- Annual Vaccination: The flu vaccine is typically administered on an annual basis because influenza viruses can mutate and change over time. Each year, scientists and healthcare organisations work to predict which strains of the virus are most likely to circulate during the upcoming flu season and develop vaccines accordingly.
- Targeted Strains: The flu vaccine is designed to protect against specific strains of the influenza virus. These strains are selected based on global surveillance of flu outbreaks and predictions about which strains are most likely to be a threat in the upcoming season.
- Effectiveness: The effectiveness of the flu vaccine can vary from year to year depending on how well the selected strains match the circulating strains. Even if the vaccine is not a perfect match, it can still provide some level of protection and reduce the severity of symptoms if a person does get sick.
Who Should Get Vaccinated?
It is recommended that nearly everyone over the age of six months, with few exceptions, should receive an annual flu vaccination. Priority is often given to individuals at higher risk of complications from the flu, including young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with certain underlying health conditions.
- Side Effects: Common side effects of the flu vaccine are mild and temporary, such as soreness at the injection site or mild flu-like symptoms. Serious side effects are rare.
- Timing: It’s best to get vaccinated before the start of the flu season, however, getting vaccinated later in the season can still provide protection.
- Cost of Treatment: $25
If you have specific questions about the flu vaccine and/or availability, please contact us on 02 9054 0887.
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