Flu Shots are now available at many Unichem Pharmacies around New Zealand. We take a look at some of the common questions we get about the Influenza and the Flu Vaccine.
The short answer is Yes. The Ministry of Health suggest that almost everyone* can benefit from the protection of an annual Flu Shot.
*A small number of people, such as those who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccine previously or those who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs should not be vaccinated without first consulting a doctor.
No. A cold virus only affects the nose, throat and upper chest and lasts for a few days, whereas influenza, commonly called the flu can be a serious illness that affects the whole body and can last a week or more.
Infection with the Flu virus can lead to a stay in hospital for any age group but particularly if you are elderly or have an ongoing medical condition. Flu can make an existing medical condition, such as asthma or diabetes, a lot worse.
Even if you do not end up in hospital, Flu can keep you in bed for a week or more, preventing you from going to work, playing sport or just about anything else that requires leaving the house.
Every year the flu virus changes. Scientists from the World Health Organisation find the three or four types of flu they think will be the most widespread and dangerous for the coming winter and use them to develop the Flu vaccine for that year.
Being fit and healthy will not protect you from influenza. The flu spreads easily and even if you’re super healthy, your family, friends and co-workers may not be. By immunising against influenza you can protect yourself and lessen the chance of bringing it home to a baby, older relative or someone with a medical condition who could develop serious complications from influenza.
No. You cannot get influenza from the vaccine.
The Flu vaccine is made up of dead flu viruses. Since they aren’t live, you can’t catch the flu from them. When you get the vaccine, your body learns what the flu looks like, so it can fight the illness. It takes about 2 weeks for your body to be ready to fight.
Ideally, you should be vaccinated before the main influenza activity in May to September. Unichem Pharmacies will have the Flu Shot available from April. The earlier you get a vaccine, the sooner you're protected. Also, know that it’s never too late in the season to get a vaccine.
You can find a list of vaccinating Pharmacies here. No appointment necessary.
Your Pharmacist will take you through some information regarding your vaccination and review if the Flu Shot is right for you.
To make it even more convenient, avoid the paperwork by filling in your Pre-Vaccination Checklist online.
Source Material: Flu can be anywhere, National Immunisation Specialist Group
The influenza vaccine is a prescription medicine and can be administered to a person 18 years of age or over by a registered pharmacist who has successfully completed a vaccinator training course approved by the Ministry of Health. Talk to your health professional about the benefits and possible risks.