1 year ago

Influenza, or ‘the flu’, is a highly contagious respiratory illness and a common cause of hospitalisation, with many Australians dying from complications of flu symptoms each year.

Common flu symptoms include fever, dry cough, sore throat, headache, nasal congestion and fatigue. Although similar to common cold symptoms, flu symptoms have a sudden onset and are more severe.

While it is possible to catch flu at any time, the core flu season is in our colder months, from April to October. Typically peak influenza infections occur in August, however last year this was dramatically earlier, with a peak 6-8 weeks earlier, around late May/early June. This year higher than usual confirmed cases are already being recorded as of March (Health Direct).

The 2023 Flu Vaccine

The best form of protection against influenza is to get an annual flu vaccine. The flu vaccine is recommended for all people aged ≥6 months unless contraindicated.
The seasonal flu vaccine provides immunisation against the two most common flu viruses; influenza A +B.

This year there are four influenza vaccines available under the National Immunisation Program:

Free Flu Vaccinations

Free seasonal influenza vaccine is funded under the National Immunisation Program (NIP) for the following groups at higher risk of complications from influenza:

  • All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over
  • All children aged 6 months to less than 5 years of age
  • Pregnant women (at any stage of pregnancy)
  • All adults aged 65 years and over

All people aged 5 years and over with a medical condition including but not limited to cardiac disease, chronic respiratory disease, chronic neurological conditions, immunocompromising conditions, diabetes and chronic renal failure.

Please consult your doctor for vaccination advice if you have an existing medical condition.

How to get a flu vaccine

Flu vaccinations can be given at any time before, after or with most other vaccinations. 

Flu shots are administered as a single dose in most cases, with the exception of the first year of influenza vaccination, where two doses are recommended.

2023 Flu vaccinations will be available soon. Call us on 02 6654 1282 or pop into the clinic to  book an appointment.

We recommend that you book your flu shot ahead of the peak winter flu season.

Fifth Covid vaccine now available

As the government recently announced (20th Feb 23), adult Australians are now eligible to receive a fifth covid vaccine. An updated Pfizer vaccine targeting the BA1, BA4 and BA5 variants of Omicron is available from 6th March. 

Moderna, Pfizer and Novavax are also available as alternative booster options.

Eligibility for a fifth Covid vaccine

You are eligible if you are 18 years or above and had a previous vaccine or last contracted Covid, more than six months ago.

Guidelines recommend all adults 65+ are vaccinated with a fifth dose, alongside adults 18-64 with a comorbidity or disability. For all other adults 18-64, a fifth vaccine can be administered as opted. 

Boosters are not recommended for children and teens (aged under 18) who do not have any risk factors for severe Covid 19.

If eligible, it is recommended Covid boosters are given before June 2023.

How to book your Covid booster

Covid vaccination appointments are now available. Call us on 02 6654 1282 or pop into the clinic to book an appointment.

Covid and Flu shots are able to be given at the same time. If you would like to receive both your Influenza and Covid vaccines at the same appointment, just let us know when you make a booking.

Our friendly nursing team look forward to seeing you at the Beach Street Family Practice soon.