If you’re one of the thousands of Australians who has been vaccinated against the flu this flu season, then you’re probably not thinking about the possible impact of a new flu vaccine.
The NSW Government has just announced it will start handing out flu vaccinations in the capital and it will cost $5.50 per adult and $2.50 for children.
That’s the cost of one dose of the FluMist vaccine, which is designed to stop the virus from replicating in the body.
“FluMist will protect you from the flu by preventing the spread of the virus and by blocking its replication,” the vaccine’s manufacturer, AstraZeneca, said in a press release.
Health Minister, Dr Peter Dutton, said the rollout would not affect the number of flu shots handed out, which are still available at many pharmacies.
Dr Dutton said there were many more people who had been vaccinated than there were who were at risk of catching the virus.
In other words, if you’re already vaccinated, you won’t need to take another dose.
However, if your current dose of FluMist was taken before the flu season started, you could still catch the flu if you had previously been vaccinated.
If you are at high risk of contracting the flu and are vaccinated before the season began, you may be better off sticking to a healthy diet and exercising, Dr Dutton told ABC radio.
There is currently no flu vaccine available for sale in Australia, so people who don’t need one should be able to get one through pharmacies, health workers and healthcare providers.
But it’s not just about getting the flu shot.
Australia has a national flu vaccination campaign, which has been rolled out to the country since October.
Anyone who has never been vaccinated can still receive a flu shot at home or at a local health clinic.
For people who have been vaccinated but have missed their shot, they can also go to the flu vaccine helpline and get a dose of their preferred vaccine at a discount.
When you visit a clinic you will be asked to provide your name and address and your date of birth.
Once you get a flu vaccine from the pharmacy, it will be sent to your personalised prescription pad for a single dose of up to 100,000 units.
It will cost about $50 per dose and is valid for up to six months.
You can also order a FluMist online, from your local pharmacy or by calling 1800 RESPECT.
People should not get their flu shot until they are at least 65 years old, and should also not get a second dose until at least six months after the first.
Flu shots have been available in Australia since October 2016.
This is the second flu vaccine campaign that has rolled out in Australia.
Two years ago, the government announced the FluCare program, which aimed to vaccinate as many as 70 million people in the first two months of the pandemic.
About 2.4 million Australians have been covered by FluCare.
A total of 730,000 people have been tested for influenza in NSW, including some who were previously vaccinated but not yet.
While there are some differences in how many people get the flu shots and how many of them are covered, the numbers are similar for the two flu campaigns.
Since the vaccine is meant to stop a pandemic, people who get the vaccine in the short term will be at increased risk.
And in the long term, the vaccine will make people healthier, Dr Anthony Fauci, a senior lecturer at the University of Sydney’s School of Medicine, said.
He said the vaccine was particularly important for people who are at risk for getting the virus as they are not yet vaccinated.
“In the short run, people at risk will need to be vaccinated for a longer period,” he said.