Private flu vaccines are $8 during designated flu clinics and $20 outside of designated flu clinics for Medicare card holders.
When flu season is upon us and it is our job to play a key role in informing our patients about risks associated with influenza and the importance of receiving the influenza vaccination.
The flu is a highly contagious viral infection that can cause severe illness and life-threatening complications, including pneumonia. The flu is spread by contact with fluids from coughs and sneezes.
It is estimated that flu contributes to over 3,000 deaths in Australia each year.
In some cases of the flu, severe illness and complications such as pneumonia and bronchitis can develop, which can result in hospitalisation and even death. The flu can also make some existing medical conditions worse.
Some people are at higher risk of severe complications associated with the flu. They include:
- Pregnant Women
- People Aged Over 65
- Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander People
- All Children Younger Than Five Years Of Age
- People With Chronic Medical Conditions.
*The above patients are eligible for the government funded influenza vaccines*
People 65 years and older are being recommended to have the new age specific trivalent influenza vaccine, which are only available through the government.
Children 6mths- less than 5 years of age are also eligible for a government funded influenza vaccination (quadrivalent).
Influenza causes substantial illness in children and vaccination is proven to reduce a child’s risk of contracting influenza and suffering from its complications. This initiative will expand on the current program offered through the National Immunisation Program (funded vaccine for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from 6 months to less than 5 years of age and for children over 6 months with conditions predisposing to severe influenza).
Vaccinating young children will also protect the wider community by reducing the circulating influenza strains.
Lisa Kirkham is the Head Nurse at Coastal Family Health and one of the Sunshine Coast’s leading nurses.