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Coronavirus Vaccine – How far away is it?

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Call our Tele Health Coronavirus hotline on 1300 411 748 for a Telehealth call with a GP about any health concern.

If you live in the South Brisbane area, you may be referred to our Alexandra Hills Respiratory Clinic for a COVID-19 Assessment.

Coronavirus Vaccine – How far away is it?

The new coronavirus, widely referred to as COVID-19, has shocked the world with its rapid spread, breach of containment lines and high death rate (relative to influenza). This is a new virus, never before confronted by humanity. As such, our scientists are facing a brand-new challenge – to catch up to a viral scourge that is spreading beyond all efforts to halt it.

Testing and developing a coronavirus vaccine – how it works

Testing a new vaccine can be a process that takes many years. Before human trials even begin, tests are often conducted on a range of animal subjects to gain an understanding of the physiological effects of the vaccine (including its effectiveness in combating the target virus).

If the vaccine appears safe in animals, clinical trials in humans may be approved. These early trials are initially likely to feature small numbers of people, less than 100, but may eventually be scaled to incorporate several thousand human volunteers. During these clinical trials, many questions will be answered, such as the safety of the vaccine, dosage, reaction of the human immune system, and interaction with other medicines that people may be taking.

There are, broadly speaking, a few stages to vaccine development:

  1. Exploratory Stage: 3-4 years
  2. Pre-Clinical Stage: 1-2 years
  3. Application for Trial: approx. 1 month
  4. Phase 1 Trials: approx. 1 year
  5. Phase 2 Trials: approx. 1 year
  6. Phase 3 Trials: approx. 1 year+
  7. Phase 4 Trials: usually conducted post-release

Will a new coronavirus vaccine be safe?

Any coronavirus vaccine that is approved for widespread distribution will likely have undergone extensive testing to ensure it is safe for human consumption. Most developed nations have a body that is responsible for the approval of new medicines, and many have stringent testing requirements. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the responsible body, while in Australia the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) regulates vaccines.

Who is working on the coronavirus vaccine?

Various organisations around the world are working to develop a coronavirus vaccine. Pharmaceutical firms such as Gilead Sciences, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson all have vaccines in active development. One of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, GlaxoSmithKline, is working with the University of Queensland and a Chinese firm, Clover Biopharmaceuticals, in an effort to develop a combined vaccine and delivery method.

How long does it take to create a new coronavirus vaccine?

The length of time it will take to develop a new coronavirus vaccine is virtually impossible to determine. Most analysts and industry experts agree that developing, manufacturing and distributing a brand-new vaccine within twelve months would be an extraordinary achievement, and is quite unlikely. A two- or three-year timeframe would be quite ambitious but is much more achievable provided international cooperation continues. As such, we all need to prepare as best as we can for at least twelve more months of the coronavirus spreading throughout the world. 

How long will it take to produce coronavirus shots?

For a global virus like coronavirus, that already (as of March 9th) fulfils the World Health organisation’s criteria for a pandemic, vaccine manufacture is likely to be accelerated. The truly long part of the process is development and testing. Once that is taken care of, manufacturing of the new vaccine can be scaled up rapidly to reach a wide audience. Countries at significant risk are likely to receive support from other nations in vaccinating their populace quickly. Some organisations are working on methods to reduce the amount of vaccine required to be effective, so that will also assist in developing an adequate amount of vaccine for a significant percentage of the world’s population in a short time.

What can you do to avoid catching the coronavirus?

Rather than relying on the discovery, testing, manufacture and distribution of a brand-new vaccine, you can take steps now to greatly minimise your risk of contracting the new coronavirus. Very straightforward tips will help maintain your immune system and lower your exposure to viruses:

  • Avoid large public gatherings
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Cover your face when practical
  • Avoid touching your face
  • If possible, avoid travel
  • Avoid areas where travellers and tourists congregate

 Book a flu shot

The flu shot is entirely ineffective against the coronavirus; the two viruses are very different. However, booking your flu shot now can help prevent you potentially becoming ill from two different viruses, and may also help reduce the burden on the public healthcare system.

Click here to find a medical centre near you.

The Interesting History of the Flu Vaccine

The history of the flu virus

The flu is a fascinating subject. Most Australians are exposed in one way or another. Whether you yourself have had the flu or you’ve seen a family member go through it, you are likely aware of its effects and the illness it can cause the vulnerable, such as children and the elderly. With the 2020 flu season almost upon us, we’ve pulled together some interesting facts about the flu vaccine and the history of the flu in Australia.

The influenza virus was first isolated in 1933, giving rise to a new era in which all of humanity could be protected from one of the world’s most prolific killers. This breakthrough changed thinking about influenza, as previously the consensus was that the flu was caused by a bacterium known as Haemophilus Influenzae.

When was the flu vaccine invented?

The very first monovalent flu vaccine was invented in 1938 and was widely used to inoculate United States defence forces during World War 2. The first bivalent influenza vaccine was developed in 1942 as a response to the discovery of Influenza Type B. In 1978, the first trivalent flu vaccine was introduced. This vaccine typically includes two influenza A strains and one influenza B strain.

In 2012, the first quadrivalent flu vaccine was licensed in the United States. Since then, a variant of the quadrivalent vaccine has become commonly recommended by WHO each year.

How is the flu vaccine determined?

Starting in 1973, the World Health Organisation began issuing guidance to all nations on the composition of the flu vaccine for each coming flu season. Each year, the World Health Organisation meets and may make different recommendations to previous years based on the data they have available and their expectations for which flu strains are likely to be the most widespread the following year.

Most nations will then have a body that determines the flu shot based on the advice of the World Health Organisation. In Australia, this body is the Australian Influenza Vaccine Committee (AIVC). They meet each year at the Therapeutic Goods Administration in Canberra to determine the make-up of the flu vaccine for the upcoming flu season.

Click here to read more about how the 2020 flu shot is determined.

The history of the flu in Australia

In 1919, the Spanish flu arrived in Victoria. For some time it had been held at bay through the extensive quarantining and blockading procedures put in place at all ports. Over the months following its arrival, it spread throughout New South Wales and the rest of the country. During that time, approximately 10,000 Australians died. The Spanish flu was remarkable for its tendency to cause fatalities in young adults, rather than the elderly or young children.

1957 saw the rise of the next major flu pandemic, known as the Asian flu. This flu was far more widespread than the Spanish flu, but with a much lower fatality rate. This was one of the first instances in the modern era of a major global pandemic originating from bird viruses. In 1968, Australia experienced the Hong Kong flu. This pandemic was relatively mild, with global deaths estimated at one million.

2009 was the year of the H1N1 flu. This strain was new and was believed to have arisen from a combination of human, avian and swine flu. It was first identified in Mexico and quickly spread around the world. For most people who contracted this flu, symptoms were mild. However, for a select few it caused serious complications in the lungs and severe pneumonia. Almost 40,000 cases were recorded in Australia and 191 people died. The median age of death was 53, whereas normal, seasonal flu has a median age of death of around 83.

The flu in recent years

Over time, Australia has become better at weathering each flu season. Government programs to improve accessibility to the flu vaccine for the elderly and young children ensure that more people are vaccinated. Growing acceptance of the flu vaccine and corporate programs to inoculate their workforce have also assisted in reducing the number of infected and annual deaths from the flu.

2017 Flu Deaths in Australia (source: Australian Bureau of Statistics)

Get your flu shot!

Avoiding the flu should be high on everyone’s agenda this flu season. Save yourself the wasted time and the days of feeling terrible with a simple jab right at the start of the season.

If you’d like to get your 2020 flu shot, please click here.

WORRIED ABOUT CORONAVIRUS?

You may qualify for a BULK BILLED TELEPHONE CALL with a GP. To find out if you qualify, complete our online form or call our Tele Health Coronavirus hotline on 1300 411 748.

Coronavirus Health Alert: Information from SmartClinics

3 March 2020

As more cases of COVID-19 (the new coronavirus) are confirmed around the world, it is becoming increasingly clear that we need to take some basic precautions to maintain hygiene levels and ensure that we do all that we can as individuals to help halt the spread of the virus.

Who are the confirmed coronavirus cases in QLD?

Of the 10 confirmed cases in Queensland (as of March 3rd), 5 contracted the virus on a tour of Wuhan, 3 came from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, 1 was from a woman who had been on a trip to Iran, and 1 was from a man from China who travelled through Dubai.

Key messages for SmartClinics patients who suspect they have the coronavirus:

This SmartClinics Health Alert is for people who meet the following criteria:

  • Travelled to, or through, the following countries:
    • China
    • Cambodia
    • Hong Kong
    • Indonesia
    • Iran
    • Italy
    • Japan
    • Singapore
    • South Korea
    • Thailand
  • Or had close contact with a person who has travelled in these areas in 14 days prior to presentation; or
  • If you have a fever; or
  • If you have an Acute Respiratory Infection (even if you don’t have a fever).

If you fulfil any of these criteria, please observe the following guidelines:

  • Stay Isolated. If possible, stay inside your home. Avoid contact with other people.
  • If possible, wear a mask if you need to leave your house or travel.
  • Call your local emergency department – do not attend a medical centre to avoid possibly spreading the virus.
  • Maintain a distance of at least 1m from all people at all times.

If you are unsure whether you fit the above criteria, please observe the following guidelines:

  • Call ahead of time to book an appointment with the Doctor – DO NOT BOOK ONLINE.
  • Tell your doctor about your symptoms, travel history and any recent close contact with someone who has coronavirus.
  • If you must leave home to see your doctor, wear a surgical mask (if you have one) to protect others.

Queensland Government Coronavirus Guidelines

Queensland Health has released a range of advice for those who suspect they may have coronavirus, or for those who wish to avoid it. A brief summary is below.

If you have recently returned from China or Iran:

  • You should self-quarantine for 14 days from the date you departed those countries.
  • If you develop a fever, a cough or become short of breath you should immediately call a GP or emergency department. Let them know that you have recently travelled, and where to.

If you have been in close contact with someone who has a confirmed case of the coronavirus:

  • You should self-quarantine for 14 days from the date you last had contact with that person.
  • If you develop a fever, a cough or become short of breath you should immediately call a GP or emergency department. Let them know that you have recently travelled, and where to.

If you have recently returned from Italy or South Korea and were employed as a healthcare worker or in an aged care residence:

  • You should self-quarantine for 14 days from the date you departed those countries.

How does the coronavirus spread?

Person to person transmission is the most common way for coronavirus to spread. Sneezing and coughing is a common way for the virus to leave the body and find its way to new hosts. Droplets of body fluid, such as saliva, may contain the coronavirus when expressed from an infected carrier. The coronavirus can also spread through contact with contaminated surfaces. Keep in mind, not much is known about the new coronavirus – it is a very different virus to the flu.

How to protect yourself from the coronavirus

Good personal hygiene is key to limiting your risk to the coronavirus. Some other tips that can help you avoid an infection include:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with alcohol-based hand rubs, or soap and water, regularly throughout the day and after contact with other people or surfaces.
  • If you have a cough, or find yourself sneezing, always cover your mouth. This will help reduce the risk of you infecting those around you.
  • Encourage others to stay home when they are unwell. If you manage a team of employees, let them know that they should call in sick if they have symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with anyone who displays symptoms of the coronavirus, including coughing, respiratory irritation, fatigue, shortness of breath, or a fever.

For more information from Queensland Health, visit this page.

Book an appointment with a GP

If you suspect you have coronavirus, please call ahead to make your appointment and explain in detail why you believe you may have the virus.

Click here to find a medical centre near you.

Click here for information about the 2020 flu shot. 

What is the difference between coronavirus and the flu?

WORRIED ABOUT CORONAVIRUS?

You may qualify for a BULK BILLED TELEPHONE CALL with a GP. To find out if you qualify, complete our online form or call our Tele Health Coronavirus hotline on 1300 411 748.

Incidences of the new coronavirus from out of China are spreading around the world, with China updating numbers of those infected and those who have died almost daily. At the same time, the flu season is almost upon us in Australia, with vaccines rolling out across all SmartClinics locations from early March.

In light of the upcoming flu season coinciding with growing incidences of the new coronavirus, we decided to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about the new coronavirus, the flu, how they differ, and what steps you can take to protect yourself and your family.

What do the flu and coronavirus have in common?

Both influenza and the coronavirus are viruses that can cause respiratory issues. Approximately 1% of flu cases are severe enough to be hospitalised, while the number for coronavirus is 14% (although this is data from China, where they are taking a very strong stance to prevent further spread of the virus). Many of the outward symptoms of the new coronavirus and the flu may be similar, however there are some differences that have been observed to date.

What are the differences in symptoms between the flu and coronavirus?

Understanding differences in symptoms between the two illnesses might help you understand exactly what you’re dealing with when you or a loved one becomes ill. Of course, we always recommend seeking a professional opinion when you’re sick.

There are many commonalities between coronavirus symptoms and flu symptoms. However, with so little known about the new coronavirus, it is extremely difficult to delineate differences that would help a layperson identify which illness they have without proper testing.

Coronavirus

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), common symptoms of coronavirus infection include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Breathing difficulties

In severe cases, symptoms become more advanced:

  • Severe acute respiratory syndrome
  • Kidney failure pneumonia
  • Death

To highlight the difficulty of accurately describing coronavirus symptoms, around 5% of cases report a sore throat and runny nose, while a small percentage also report diarrhoea and vomiting.

Influenza

Influenza has been widely researched and most Australians are probably already familiar with its symptoms. However, according to WHO, they can include:

  • Fever (often with abrupt onset)
  • Chills
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain

Still not sure?

Consider where you live and where you have been in the last 14 days. If you live in an area with very limited cases of known coronavirus, and you find yourself with a sore throat or a runny nose and some muscle pain, you are more likely to have the flu than coronavirus.

The likelihood that you have Coronavirus rather than the Flu really depends on the following factors:

  • If you have travelled to a ‘high-risk’ country. (As of 3 March 2020: China and Iran – to ‘do not travel’; South Korea, Japan, Italy and Mongolia – to ‘exercise a high degree of caution’.) Check updates here.
  • You have been in close contact with someone who has travelled to these countries, or has been diagnosed or suspected of having Coronavirus.

What to do if you suspect you have coronavirus or the flu

If you believe that you have coronavirus, book a doctor appointment BY PHONE, and make it clear when you’re booking your appointment that you are concerned you may have symptoms of coronavirus. Please do not book online. We’ll chat with you over the phone to book you in to see a GP, and ensure that you’re ok. If possible, wear a mask when you leave the house but try to stay home and rest to avoid spreading it further. Please practice good hygiene! Wash hands, cough into your elbow, throw away dirty tissues.

If you suspect that you have the flu, the same rules apply. Speak to a medical professional. Thankfully, we have the flu vaccine available to help people avoid contracting the flu. If you’d like to get your 2020 flu shot, please click here.

What’s more deadly – the coronavirus or the flu?

It is extremely difficult to form an adequate assessment of a novel coronavirus that hasn’t had time to settle into the human population. As a new disease, it is possible that it may have a higher death rate as few people will have a defence against it.

Generally speaking, approximately 0.05% of people who contract influenza will die from it. Some very rough estimates of coronavirus lethality put the death rate at 2%, approximately 40 times higher than that of the flu. However, there is very little value in such estimates at this stage of the disease’s progression and it is more likely to drop rather than increase, particularly as treatments improve and previously mild, undiagnosed cases are also counted.

How widespread is the coronavirus in Australia?

As of Wednesday, February 12th, there were 15 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in Australia. Five of those people had recovered, while the other 10 were on their way to recovery. Efforts continue to prevent those with the illness entering the country or spreading it to others around them.

There is a very strong chance that the incidences of coronavirus in Australia will increase. This doesn’t mean that we’re facing a pandemic. It just means that a new disease with a long incubation period is likely to spread very easily in an interconnected world, particularly in a nation like Australia that shares a lot of air travel with affected counties such as China.

Is it safe to travel while the coronavirus spreads around the world?

Should I get the flu shot this year?

2020 Flu Shot – New Strains and where to get yours

Private Flu shots are only $14.95 and your vaccination appointment will be bulk billed if it’s during standard business hours for Medicare Card holders.

CLICK HERE for an updated list of SmartClinics Medical Centres that have flu vaccines in stock today.

***Please note: We have extra safety measures in place to help keep you protected at the clinic. Ask us for more information about this when you speak with us to book your vaccination.***

Flu shots can ONLY be booked by calling your clinic directly.

We know that everyone is itching to find out more about the flu vaccine, so we’ve put together a quick rundown of some fun facts and some questions that you may have about how the flu vaccine is developed and how it may affect your health.

How is the flu vaccine created?

Every year, the Australian Influenza Vaccine Committee (AIVC) meets to discuss the flu vaccine for the coming season. In 2019, they met at the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in Canberra in early October. There, they made determinations on which influenza viruses the 2020 vaccine should be built upon.

The AIVC took into account advice provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO) with regard to the specific strains of influenza that should be used in the composition of vaccines for the 2020 southern hemisphere flu season. Once the AIVC made their recommendation, it was accepted by the TGA. Thus, we now have an established and consistent type of flu vaccine for 2020.

Which flu strains are included?

The following viruses will be used to formulate the 2020 flu vaccine in Australia:

Egg based Quadrivalent influenza vaccines:

  • an A/Brisbane/02/2018 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
  • an A/South Australia/34/2019 (H3N2)-like virus;
  • a B/Washington/02/2019-like (B/Victoria lineage) virus; and
  • a B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (B/Yamagata lineage) virus.

Egg based Trivalent influenza vaccines:

  • an A/Brisbane/02/2018 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
  • an A/South Australia/34/2019 (H3N2)-like virus; and
  • a B/Washington/02/2019-like (B/Victoria lineage) virus.
What is the difference between a Quadrivalent and Trivalent influenza vaccine?

To put it simply, a quadrivalent flu vaccine contains four components, or viruses, that you will be inoculated against. A trivalent flu vaccine contains three. Both vaccines will contain two influenza A viruses and one influenza B virus, usually the same across both. The quadrivalent vaccine will also include an additional B strain.

Should you get both types of vaccine?

It is not recommended for people to receive more than one flu vaccination per flu season. There are exceptions for some children who require additional vaccination.

Why is the flu vaccine different around the world?

Different strains of the flu virus are likely to be present in different parts of the world, and populations may have differing herd immunity established. Some nations are more likely to experience influenza A strains, while others may be more exposed to influenza B strains. In some countries, quadrivalent vaccines are very highly recommended due to the presence of two widespread types of influenza B viruses.

Is an egg-based flu vaccine bad for people with an egg allergy?

Most medical professionals acknowledge that there is no significant harm in administering an egg-based flu vaccine to a person with an egg allergy. Even for those with egg anaphylaxis, it is still recommended to receive the flu shot. 

Who should get the flu shot?

The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone. However, those who should receive it as a matter of highest priority include pregnant women, very young children, the elderly and those who suffer from chronic health concerns.

Is the flu shot free for children?

The flu shot is free for many children. Through a combination of state and national funding, the following classes of people receive the flu vaccine for free:

  • Children aged 6 months to 5 years.
  • Pregnant women.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders aged 6 months and over.
  • Those aged 6 months and older with medical conditions that may expose them to complications if they contract influenza.
Schedule your flu vaccine

Get on the wait list for the 2020 flu vaccine:

CLICK HERE.

Coronavirus – Everything you need to know

Coronavirus has been splashed across front pages, social media and news websites for the last week. This new Wuhan virus is big news and growing exponentially. There’s nothing better than a potential pandemic to sell some newspapers.

So what is it all about and should we really be at panic stations? Just how widespread is this new coronavirus, and how aggressive is it? We’ve done some rapid research using publicly available information to get a clear idea of what kind of threat the coronavirus presents to the Australian public and the steps you can take to protect you and your family’s health.

What’s happened so far?

As of Wednesday, January 29th, more than 4,500 cases had been reported and the death toll exceeded 100 people. There were renewed fears of increased transmission rates, despite the reassurance of experts that it should ultimately be less widespread than other major, similar viruses such as SARS. Australia upgraded its advice to tourists to reconsider travel to all of China, not just Hubei province. Some nations, such as Japan, have begun evacuating their citizens from Wuhan.

What is the coronavirus?

Technically, it’s not the coronavirus, it’s just a coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a designation of a virus type that is commonly found among animals. In some edge cases, it’s possible for these diseases to cross the animal-human boundary, which is what has happened here.

How does coronavirus present itself?

People who contract a coronavirus usually get quite unwell. Upper respiratory tract symptoms are very common, and some sufferers may appear as though they have a cold. Symptoms such as a cough, sore throat, runny nose and headaches are very common. Some people may present with a fever which will persist for a few days.

How do you treat coronavirus?

Coronavirus doesn’t have a specific treatment regime. The majority of people who contract a coronavirus will eventually recover without medical assistance. General treatment advice includes:

• Cold and flu medication
• Plenty of rest
• Use a room humidifier or take hot showers to ease throat pain
• Stay hydrated

If you have concerns about your illness, or you notice your condition worsening, you should speak with a healthcare provider.

Where did the coronavirus start?

This particular coronavirus has not been identified in humans before. It is suspected to have originated in a seafood market in Wuhan, China, through some exposure to a live or recently killed animal.

A recent study indicates that it may have been a snake that originally passed the virus onto the first human. It is one of seven coronaviruses that are known to infect humans. Four of these are very common and express themselves as the common cold. The others, SARS and MERS, are similar to this current virus in that they crossed the threshold from animal to human.

How much is the coronavirus likely to spread?

There are early indications that this coronavirus isn’t as infectious as SARS or MERS. Additionally, there are far better procedures in place now to quarantine and address breakouts more rapidly. Most expectations are that this new coronavirus won’t spread as rapidly or infect as many people as SARS or MERS.

How to avoid coronavirus infection

The same good hygiene practices that you would normally employ during flu season may help you avoid a coronavirus infection. Avoid congested areas where possible. Clean your hands regularly, using an alcohol-based sanitiser. Disinfect your immediate surrounds (such as your desk space at work) regularly. Avoid touching your eyes and mouth with your hands. If you’re sick, stay at home – don’t contribute to spreading illness through your workplace.

What’s being done?

Many nations (including Australia) have issued notices to their population to reconsider travelling to highly affected areas, such as Wuhan and broader Hubei province. In China, the government is taking significant steps to quarantine affected areas and establish field hospitals to help treat those already infected.

China’s capabilities in addressing outbreaks such as this, combined with the powers that may be exercised by their government, ensures that every possible step is being taken to restrict the spread of this new coronavirus. While these efforts are unlikely to prevent the spread of the virus entirely, they will certainly delay it and provide other governments time to implement their own procedures to prevent further infections.

Is it safe to travel?

Schedule an appointment

There’s no need to panic – the chances of you having come into contact with a coronavirus carrier are infinitesimally small. If you have any symptoms that you’re concerned about, schedule an appointment with a GP to discuss it.

Click here to find a SmartClinics Medical Centre near you.

WORRIED ABOUT CORONAVIRUS?

You may qualify for a BULK BILLED TELEPHONE CALL with a GP. To find out if you qualify, complete our online form or call our Tele Health Coronavirus hotline on 1300 411 748.

5 Misconceptions about the Flu

When you spend enough time working around doctors and their patients, you hear a lot of very interesting bits and pieces about common illnesses like the flu. A lot of people believe things that they’ve heard, or carry oral traditions passed down from their parents, or simply misunderstand something that is otherwise factual.

We spoke with some of the SmartClinics GPs to put together a list of common misconceptions about the flu to help you know more about the flu than the average person. Here are our top 5 misconceptions about the flu.

  1. The flu shot can give you the flu.

This is a very common misconception about the flu shot. It probably arises from the fact that the flu vaccine is sometimes made using deactivated flu viruses or specific genetic components of the flu virus that trigger an immune response in the human body. However, the fact is, there is no active or viable influenza virus contained in any flu shot that you’re receiving via a needle.

  1. If I get sick this winter, it means that the flu shot didn’t work.

The flu vaccine has an extremely high effectiveness rate. Many people come down with symptoms similar to the flu and assume that the flu shot didn’t work. However, chances are good that if you find yourself with these symptoms, you most likely have a cold or a similar respiratory illness. If you find yourself feeling seriously unwell, you should absolutely get checked out by a GP or other medical professional. However, generally speaking, you stand a far better chance of avoiding flu infection if you’ve received a flu shot than if you have not.

  1. Healthy people don’t need to get a flu vaccine.

The flu can make even the healthiest people feel extremely unwell. It is a serious disease and can have an even more serious impact on anyone with pre-existing conditions, such as asthma or heart conditions. The flu can play havoc with your immune system and leave you vulnerable to illness from other sources. It is also very non-discriminatory. Influenza can overwhelm healthy immune systems, so relying on your overall level of health to avoid getting the flu is unlikely to be a particularly effective strategy.

In order to stay healthy throughout the flu season, we strongly recommend that you get a flu shot.

  1. Some flu vaccines are better than others.

There are many types of flu vaccines, some more appropriate for different groups of people than others. However, generally speaking, all flu vaccines in a like-for-like comparison are equally as effective. Of course, the method in which you receive your vaccination may be more or less effective than others, depending on your personal factors such as age, health and any allergies you may have to components in some flu vaccines.

  1. No one dies from the flu anyway.

People absolutely do die from the flu. Each year, anywhere from around 500 to 4,000 Australians die from the flu. Different years and severities of flu strains produce different fatality levels. Young people, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems from other health concerns are more likely to die from the flu. However, of those that don’t die, many experience debilitating symptoms and require hospitalisation. It can greatly affect work and personal life and may leave a person open to infection with other illnesses.

Fast Flu Facts:

  • The flu vaccine can reduce a child’s risk of requiring paediatric intensive care during flu season by up to 74%.
  • Improved uptake of the flu vaccine has led to a reduction of around 40% in adult hospitalisations for flu-related health issues.
  • Adults who receive a flu shot may reduce their risk of being admitted to the ICU with the flu by up to 82%.
  • Among pregnant women, a flu shot can reduce the chances of being hospitalised with the flu by up to 40%.
  • Among those hospitalised with the flu, those who have received a flu shot are 59% less likely to require admittance to the ICU, and of those who are admitted, those with the flu shot require on average 4 fewer days of hospitalisation.

Book Your Flu Shot Now

Getting the flu shot can help maintain your health through the flu season and ensure that you’re able to continue functioning happily and healthily. Additionally, by getting the flu vaccine you are greatly reducing your chances of getting the flu and potentially spreading it those around you, such as workmates, family or even people on your commute.

Click here to find a SmartClinics Medical Centre near you and arrange a flu vaccine today.

 

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/misconceptions.htm

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/blog/5-convenient-truths-about-the-flu

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/may/07/flu-experts-predict-4000-australians-will-die-from-influenza-this-year

 

2018 Supercharged Flu Vaccines

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PAST BLOG POST 2018 This year’s ‘Superflu’ vaccines 

You may have recently heard about this year’s release of stronger flu vaccines in the News.   The media has referred to them as “turbo vaccines” or “supercharged vaccines” but what does that really mean? Dr Ian Walsh from SmartClinics Clayfield (pictured left) answers your questions below…

What is an enhanced flu vaccine?

Reference to ‘Turbo’ or ‘Supercharged’ vaccines relates to two types of 2018 vaccines that will be made available to patients 65 years and older, as it stimulates a stronger immune response in these patients. These will be branded as either FLUAD Adjuvanted Trivalent Influenza Vaccine or FluZone and are now available in most medical centres around Queensland. The Government will supply them free of charge for patients aged 65 and older.

What if I’m aged 18 – 65 years of age?

Adults under the age of 65 will receive a Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine that provides very high protection against 4 strains of Influenza.  You can buy this flu vaccine today for only $9.95 when bought online as part of our Early Bird offer. Many GPs are also offering bulk billed flu shot appointments this year to keep healthcare affordable. Click here for more information or to buy your vaccine now.

Should I wait for the Government-funded vaccine?

It’s highly recommended that adults get vaccinated as soon as the standard vaccine is available (in March) as this will help avoid an early outbreak of the flu. You can buy yours now, and we’ll let you know once it has arrived at the clinic.

What about flu vaccines for children?

This year the Queensland Government will fund vaccines for Infants aged 6 months to under 5 years. To be notified by email when this vaccine arrives at your local clinic please click here. If you have children aged 5 years to 17 years, you can pre-buy the children’s vaccine for $9.95 as part of our early bird offer.

For more information about 2018 Flu Vaccinations click here

To pre-order your vaccine today, or to set a reminder email, click here