Frequently Asked Questions

What is the flu?

Flu (influenza) is caused by a virus which is spread through the air by fluids produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or by direct contact with these fluids on surfaces or objects. The flu virus is highly contagious and you usually experience symptoms 5 to 7 days after contact. Flu symptoms are not the same as common cold symptoms. Flu symptoms, which can last for weeks, are more severe and include high fever, muscular aches and pains, headache, coughing and sore throat. It is estimated that each year, flu contributes to an average of 13,500 hospitalisations and 1,000 deaths among Australians aged over 50 years.

Why should I have the flu vaccine?

Vaccination is the best defence against the flu. The flu vaccine stimulates the body to make antibodies, which fight the influenza virus. If you have been vaccinated, when you come into contact with the influenza virus, your body is better prepared to quickly destroy the virus, which helps to prevent you from getting the flu. Even if you are still unfortunate and get the flu, the vaccine reduces the severity of the virus. The flu can also worsen underlying medical conditions such as heart conditions, asthma and respiratory conditions, diabetes, kidney disease, impaired immunity and neuromuscular disease, giving these people an even higher risk of complications from the flu.

What else can I do to prevent the flu?

In addition to vaccination, good hygiene is one of the best ways to prevent flu and other illnesses from spreading. Practices such as; hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, binning tissues, sharing avoidance, and keeping surfaces clean.

What are government recommendations for the upcoming 2022 season?

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) have released clinical advise for the 2022 season. Key summary points;

• Vaccination is the most important measure to prevent influenza and its complications. It is recommended for all people ≥6 months of age
• During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been reduced circulation of influenza virus and lower levels of influenza vaccine coverage compared with previous years. With borders reopening, a resurgence of influenza is expected in 2022.
• If a person had a 2021 influenza vaccine in late 2021 or early 2022, they are still recommended to receive a 2022 formulation of influenza vaccine when it becomes available (likely from March 2022).

Is there a waiting period between COVID-19 vaccination and influenza vaccination?

In a March 2022 update, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) released advice on the relative timing of administering influenza and COVID-19 vaccines.

COVID-19 vaccines can be co-administered (given on the same day) with an influenza vaccine.

65 years and over

If you are 65 years and over there are some key items to understand before booking:

  • National Pharmacies in South Australia are unable to access the NIP in 2022, therefore our vaccination price is not covered by government. Please note, community clinics with NIP access may still charge a service fee.
  • Whilst National Pharmacies doesn’t have NIP access in 2022, you can still obtain a vaccine from one of our clinics, at prices displayed.
  • ATAGI (Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation) has advised for the 2022 influenza season: For adults aged ≥65 years, the adjuvanted influenza vaccine, Fluad® Quad, is preferentially recommended over standard influenza vaccine. National Pharmacies does not stock Fluad Quad. Please note: National Pharmacies vaccine – Influvac Tetra – is registered and available for use in Australia for ≥65 years.

Who can have the flu vaccine?

National Pharmacies is offering the flu vaccination service for people aged 5 years* and older. *Two doses of vaccine at least one month apart are recommended for children aged less than 9 years when getting influenza vaccine for the first time, to improve their immune response. If a child only received one influenza vaccine in their first year, they only require one each subsequent year.

Which flu vaccines are National Pharmacies offering?

National Pharmacies is providing a quadrivalent (4 strain) vaccine as part of their flu vaccination service.

Do you offer a Corporate Vaccination Program?

Yes, we do. Find out more here.

Do I need a prescription?

No, a prescription is not required if you are having one of our qualified health professionals administer (inject) the vaccine to you in store.

What is the price?

The member’s price for the vaccination is $17.99, the retail price is $22.99.

Are National Pharmacies offering vaccinations through the National Immunisation Program (NIP)?

National Pharmacies in South Australia are unable to access the NIP in 2022. National Pharmacies in Victoria are able to vaccinate as part of the NIP. A small administration fee applies.

What does the quadrivalent influenza vaccine contain?

Influvac Tetra contains the following four influenza strains for 2022;

• A/Victoria/2570/2019 (H1N1)pdm09-like strain (A/Victoria/2570/2019, IVR-215)

• A/Darwin/9/2021 (H3N2)-like strain (A/Darwin/6/2021, IVR-227)

• B/Austria/1359417/2021-like strain (B/Victoria lineage) (B/Austria/1359417/2021, BVR-26)

• B/Phuket/3073/2013-like strain (B/Yamagata lineage) (B/Phuket/3073/2013, wild type)

Who is administering the vaccination at National Pharmacies?

Flu vaccinations are administered by a qualified health professional and are only administered subject to a health assessment and consent prior to vaccination.

I have heard that the flu vaccine can give you the flu, is that true?

No, flu vaccines do not contain a live virus so therefore cannot give you the flu. What you can get is common mild side effects that are similar to flu symptoms.

I received a flu shot last year, do I need to get another one this year?

Yes. Immunity decreases over time and flu vaccination is needed each year to ensure you continue to be protected. The composition of the vaccine changes every year. Vaccination is recommended in Autumn (March-May) to allow time for immunity to be strengthened before the flu season starts.

I am fit and healthy so I will be fine without the flu vaccination?

Being fit and healthy does not protect you from the flu and it is still recommended that you get a flu vaccination.

Do I have to make a booking?

National Pharmacies have walk in appointments available at selected stores, subject to the availability of the vaccine and our health professionals. However, it is highly recommended to book online to avoid potential disappointment.

Do I need a valid medicare card?

No a Medicare is not required to obtain a flu vaccination.

What will be provided to me after my vaccination?

You will be provided with a vaccination record detailing the date of vaccination, the brand and the batch number of the flu vaccine administered.

Am I eligible for a free flu vaccination under the National Immunisation Program (NIP) from my GP?

Please check eligibility here

If you are eligible to receive your influenza vaccination under the NIP, please visit your local GP as vaccinations under the NIP cannot be administered in the pharmacy. It is important to note that while the vaccine is free, a GP consultation fee may apply. National Pharmacies in Victoria are able to vaccinate as part of the NIP. A small administration fee applies.

Who is not able to have the flu vaccination?

There are some people that the flu vaccination may not be suitable for. If you fall into one of the categories below, please contact your GP prior to receiving the flu vaccination.

  • Patients who currently have an illness resulting in a fever greater than or equal to 38.5oC
  • People with a lowered immunity caused by either a medical condition or medical treatment.
  • People who have had a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis following a previous dose of the vaccine in question, or to a component of the vaccine.
  • Patient with a history of Guillian Barré syndrome
  • Patient with a bleeding disorder
  • Patients with severe chronic diseases

It is important that before receiving the vaccine you make sure to tell your immuniser if you (or your child):

  • Are unwell (have a temperature over 38.5˚C)
  • Have allergies to any other medications or substances
  • Have had a serious reaction to any vaccine
  • Have had a serious reaction to any component of the vaccine
  • Have had a severe allergy to anything
  • Have had an severe allergy reaction to eggs – the virus used in the vaccine is grown in eggs
  • Are under six months of age
  • Have had Guillain-Barré syndrome.

If you have any concerns at all as to whether the flu vaccine is right for you, please contact your GP before receiving the flu vaccine.

Are there any side effects with the flu vaccination?

The flu vaccine can cause a range of common side effects including:

  • Drowsiness or tiredness
  • Muscle aches
  • Localised pain, redness and swelling at the injection site
  • Occasionally, an injection-site lump (nodule) that may last many weeks but needs no treatment
  • Low-grade temperature (fever).

Common side effects following immunisation are usually mild and temporary (occurring only in the first few days after vaccination) and treatment is not usually required.

There is a very small risk of a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to any vaccine. This is why you are advised to remain in the pharmacy for at least 15 minutes following vaccination in case further treatment is required. Apart from anaphylaxis, other extremely rare side effects include febrile convulsions in children.

If the side effect following immunisation is unexpected, persistent or severe, or if you are worried about yourself or your child’s condition after a vaccination, contact your GP immediately, or attend your nearest hospital emergency room or, if required, call 000.

Enquiries

For all enquiries related to bookings (i.e. making, rescheduling or cancelling a booking as well as booking times) please refer to our online booking portal here or contact the pharmacy in which you wish to receive your flu vaccination from. Walk in appointments may be available at selected stores. Please call your pharmacy to confirm.

Privacy

Your personal information may be provided to a third party for the sole purpose of vaccine administration in accordance with our privacy policy. Click here to view our Privacy Policy.