To vaccinate (for the flu) or not

A quick poll around your workplace or amongst friends will probably reveal that there are two very distinct groups when it comes to getting a flu vaccination. The first group are those that get a vaccination the moment it is available and it’s part of their annual health calendar. The second group don’t get a flu vaccination and believe that while you are fit and healthy there is no real need and it’s important that you encourage your immune system to build it’s own resilience.

Ultimately, whether you choose to get a flu vaccination or not is a personal decision. One factor that does seem to change people’s perception of flu vaccination though, is experiencing a case of medically diagnosed flu for themselves – or nursing a loved one through it.

A true dose of the flu is less about a runny nose and cough and more about muscles aches and pains (a bit like how you’d feel if you did strenuous exercise and forgot to stretch) and a fever (the sort that has you shivering and freezing while wrapped in a quilt and sitting next to the heater). These symptoms, along with the runny nose, cough and overall fatigue can last for days and it can take between 7 and 10 days to recover fully – which is a considerable amount of time to not be running at 100%. A tough ask when combined with work and family commitments! But for some of the population, the risks of getting the flu can be more than just 7-10 days of being unwell. People 65 and older, those with chronic conditions (asthma, diabetes, heart disease), pregnant women, children under five and especially those under 2 years are at high risk of serious complications from the flu.

At National Pharmacies, we are here to offer advice on all things flu related for the whole family. If you choose not to be immunised we can help during the flu season with supplements that will keep you as healthy as possible. If you do decide to get vaccinated, we have trained vaccinator pharmacists in many of our pharmacies who can administer the flu vaccination for you quickly and (mostly!) painlessly.

This year, there is the added consideration of the Covid vaccine which is in the process of being rolled out now. The Covid vaccine should not be administered within 2 weeks of any other vaccine, including the flu vaccine. It’s important to know that the Covid vaccine won’t protect you against influenza which is still circulating in the community. Most of the general population will be eligible for the Covid vaccine beginning sometime in May, so it’s probably best to get your flu vaccine done as early in the season as possible. If you’re unsure about when is the best time for you, please consult your pharmacist.

book in for your flu vaccination now.   

Authors:

Robyn Johns & Bec Rogers

Professional Services

National Pharmacies