Summer has definitely left the building – the mornings are getting darker and colder and it’s harder to roll out of bed in the morning. Another season also on final approach is the influenza/flu season.
The last 2 years we have been relatively free of the normal number of flu cases – partly because of our borders being closed but also due to our mask wearing, social distancing and hand washing. As we open up our borders and relax public health measures we expect that there will be a surge of influenza infections.
What we don’t want is:
a) people getting severe flu
b) people getting flu and covid at the same time
c) the healthcare system coming under even more pressure than it already is.
So what can you do to help us?
It’s really simple – get you and your whanau vaccinated against influenza as soon as you can!
Also please continue to wear your mask, keep your hands clean and stay home if you are unwell – these measures not only stop the spread of covid but also work to stop the spread of influenza.
Why should get a flu vaccine?
Everyone! (well almost everyone)
There will be people who think getting the flu is no big deal – you get a bit crook for a bit and then you get better. For a lot of people that will be true but there are many people out there that would become very unwell, need hospitalisation or sadly die should they become infected.
Getting vaccinated protects not only you, but also those vulnerable people around you. If you don’t get infected, you can’t pass it on to others.
Who can get a flu vaccine?
Funded vaccines (free to you) are available for:
- Pregnant people
- People aged 65+
- Māori and Pacific people aged 55-64
- Those aged 6 – months to 65 years with eligible conditions
- Children aged under 4 months with respiratory illness
If you aren’t in this category you can still access the vaccine/s – there will just be a cost involved ($40 per vaccine at Ropata Health).
Who shouldn’t get a flu vaccine?
- Previous severe allergic reaction/anaphylaxsis to flu vaccine or any of its ingredients
- Children less than 6 months of age
- People who have had Guillain- Barré syndrome in the last 6 weeks (if you don’t know what that is you probably haven’t had it!)
If you’re not sure if you can be vaccinated – send us an email or call us to discuss.
How do I get an Influenza Vaccination?
The most common place to get a flu vaccination is from your family doctor/general practice. Some pharmacies also offer flu vaccination. If you are eligible for a free flu vaccine you will need to check with them prior as some cannot offer a funded service. Also check if you are
intending to vaccinate children as age limits vary.
Assuming you are a Ropata Health Centre enrolled patient – you can book your vaccination by giving us a call on (04) 920 0800. Clinics will start on 2 nd April and we have a wide variety of times to suit – including after school and weekend times.
I have had the flu before so won’t I have natural Immunity?
Your body develops immunity after you have been exposed to the virus – however it may not work for the particular strain/s virus that are circulating in the community. It also decreases over time. Having a flu vaccine boosts and prepares you immune system to deal with different strains of the virus.
I’m pregnant/Breast Feeding and worried about getting the Influenza vaccine?
Being a pregnant person gives you a higher risk of having a more severe illness and so you absolutely should have the influenza vaccine. The vaccine is very safe at any stage of your pregnancy and recommended by the WHO and MOH– the antibodies produced can pass to your baby through your breast milk and help to protect your baby too.
You should also consider getting a whooping cough vaccine any time after 16 weeks of pregnancy. This can be given at the same time as the influenza vaccine and our nurses would be happy to see you for this anytime.
I’m Immunocompromised/receiving cancer treatment – Can I still have the influenza vaccine?
The short answer is Yes! Those who are immunocompromised for any reason are at a higher risk of severe illness. If at all possible try to be vaccinated prior to the start of treatment as this gives the best immune response. If that’s not possible you can be vaccinated during your treatment but the immune response may be lower.
If you have had an organ transplant or stem cell transplant in the last 6 months we may need to talk to your specialist about the timing of this.
Every time I get the Influenza vaccine I get the flu?
It is not possible to “catch” the flu from the vaccine as it doesn’t contain any live virus. What you may have experienced was a normal response some people get to the vaccine – headache, muscle aches, slight temperature, sore throat. These side effects are usually mild and only last a couple of days.
The vaccine takes 2 weeks to work so if you are exposed to the virus in that time you could still become infected. The vaccine doesn’t protect against the common cold so you can still catch that – this is not the same as having influenza
Can I have my covid vaccination/booster at the same time as the Flu vaccine?
Yes – if you have the pzifer or astra Zeneca vaccine. If you have opted to have novavax we recommend leaving 3 days between them.
How long after my vaccine do I have to wait?
|Age Group||Vaccine/s||Waiting Time|
|Ages 5+||Influenza only||5 mins*|
|Influenza & Covid||15 mins|
|Under 5sAll ages||Influenza onlyInfluenza and other vaccine||20 mins20 mins|
5 mins assumes you will be with a responsible adult for the next 20 mins, have access to a phone and be able to contact emergency services and will not drive or operate machinery until 20 mins after your vaccination
I need more information, where can I find it?
Make sure any information you get is from a trusted and reputable source.