Influenza / Flu vaccine available from April 2022 at HHMP: Free for <5yo, 65+yo and Certain medical conditions

 In COVID-19, vaccination

Influenza / Flu vaccine coming soon to HHMP

With all the focus on COVID-19 vaccination recently, the flu vaccine has generally been ignored. What is clear though, is that you do not want to get COVID-19 and Influenza simultaneously!

 

The Influenza / Flu vaccine

The period of peak influenza circulation in Australia is typically June to September. Annual Flu vaccination should ideally occur before the onset of each influenza season.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, due to the closing of Australia’s borders, there has been very little circulation of the influenza virus. This resulted in lower levels of influenza vaccination especially in 2021 coverage compared with previous years. Experts have been discussing a resurgence of influenza in 2022 as borders reopen.

People who are planning international travel should ensure they have had a 2022 influenza vaccination before departure. This should be on top of the 2 doses of the COVID 19 vaccine and a booster.

Patients over the age of 65 are eligible for the free flu vaccine which has a higher level of immunogenicity. This vaccine is preferable in this age group as compared to the other flu vaccines which are more suitable for those below 65 years of age.

Co-administration

The COVID-19 vaccines can be co-administered (given on the same day) with an influenza vaccine. While this is seen as safe, it comes with an increased risk of side effects such as fever. It also can make it difficult if a reaction results to decide if the reaction is due to the flu vaccine, the COVID vaccine or the interaction of both. At HHMP patients are encouraged to have the flu vaccine and the COVID 19 vaccine (or booster) separated by at least 2 weeks.

By separating the vaccines by 2 weeks or more, the risk of reactions is reduced. However on some occassions, patients may be travelling overseas or have another reason (such as upcoming hospitalisation) where co-administration may be beneficial, in such circumstances, the risk of vaccination are outweighed by the protection provided from being vaccinated.

Influenza vaccines are free and recommended for the following groups

  • All children aged 6 months to <5 years
  • All adults aged ≥65 years.
  • People aged over 5 to under 65 years of age, may be eligible for a free vaccine if they are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person, pregnant women and people with chronic medical conditions as per the table below.

Medical conditions with increased influenza disease complications and eligibility for a free vaccine.

Category Medical conditions
Cardiac disease Cyanotic congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease
Chronic respiratory conditions Severe asthma, cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis, suppurative lung disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic emphysema
Chronic neurological conditions Hereditary and degenerative CNS diseases, seizure disorders, spinal cord injuries, neuromuscular disorders
Immunocompromising conditions Immunocompromised due to disease or treatment, asplenia or splenic dysfunction, HIV infection
Diabetes and other metabolic disorders Type 1 or 2 diabetes, chronic metabolic disorders
Renal disease Chronic renal failure
Haematological disorders Haemoglobinopathies
Long-term aspirin therapy in children aged 5 to 10 years These children are at increased risk of Reye syndrome following influenza infection

Making a flu vaccine booking

Influenza / Flu vaccination will occur at HHMP 3 days per week, upstairs in our vaccine clinic.

Making a booking is simple and can be done by clicking the BOOK NOW button at the top of this page or by calling 02 9817 2080. The whole family eg: grandparents, parents and children can be vaccinated concurrently as vaccines for adults and kids will be available at the same session.

Many appointments are available and there is no waiting list.

We continue to vaccinate children for their primary COVID-19 course as well as adults both for the primary course (Pfizer or Novovax) or for the booster dose.

We encourage all eligible patients to get vaccinated against both Influenza / Flu and COVID-19.

 

More Information

NSW Health Influenza and vaccination 2022

ATAGI updated Influenza information

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