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When it comes to winter time, many parents begin to worry about cold and flu. It’s that time of year when the little ones get sick and end up spreading it right through the entire family. A 2014 survey of 113 unvaccinated parents who had the flu, found that 1 in 2 believed they had caught the flu from another member of their family.

No one wants to be struck down by the flu. Not only is it unpleasant and can force family members to take time out of their busy lives, it can have serious consequences for young children and healthy young parents too.

Protect yourself against influenza and protect your family. Speak with your doctor about the best time to vaccinate.

In 2018, all states and in the ACT, children under the age of five years are eligible for a free, Government-funded vaccine

It’s important that everyone takes the appropriate measures to stop the spread of influenza. 

There are a number of preventative actions you can do to protect yourself and others around you:

  • Get vaccinated each year
  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • If you are sick with a flu-like illness, stay at home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, and limit close contact with other people if you can avoid it
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.


Did you know?

Influenza is highly contagious and can spread easily amongst members in a household. A 2014 survey of 113 unvaccinated parents who had the flu, found that:

  • •    26% believed that they had passed on the flu to a family member
    •    40% stated that their child had missed at least one day of school
    •    11% still had to pay for unused childcare due to flu. 

Influenza can take you out of action at home and in the office.  In the USA, a study reported 21% of absenteeism from work for employees who have children aged 17 years or below is attributable to influenza-like-illness in either the employee or their household member.

Children under 5 years of age are at higher risk of complications from influenza, including hospitalisation and even death:

  • Vaccination against influenza can reduce children’s risk of contracting influenza and potentially minimise the spread of the virus, protecting family and friends as well.
     

In 2017: 

  • >25,000 children aged <5 years were impacted by influenza 
  • Two children under five years of age died from influenza in NSW.
Is there a new free vaccine for children?

Yes, in 2018 most states and in the ACT, children under the age of five years are eligible for a free, government-funded vaccine. Ask your doctor for more information about eligibility.

When is the best time to get the flu shot?

The new seasonal flu vaccines usually become available in April. It’s important to have your flu vaccination in April or May in order to give your body time to develop protection against the flu before we come into winter.

It usually takes about two weeks after you receive your flu vaccination for the body to develop immunity. Flu season can be unpredictable and can begin from late May through to October.  

Speak with your doctor for more information and to decide on the best time to vaccinate.
 

Why do we need the flu shot every year?

Each year, the influenza virus changes. Therefore, the vaccine that was made to combat last year’s strains will be no longer effective (or as effective) against the current year’s strains. In addition, these antibody levels reduce over time, so annual vaccination is required to ensure you have optimal protection.

Do I need to vaccinate my whole family to be protected?

No, you don’t have to protect your whole family to be protected. However, the Australian Immunisation Handbook recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months should receive the flu vaccine every year to protect themselves and everyone around them from the serious complications caused by influenza.

Is the flu shot included in the new ‘no jab, no pay’ rules?

At the moment, the influenza vaccine is not part of the “no jab, no pay” policy to receive the Family Tax Benefit Part A.

Check with your doctor for more information, or visit DSS Government Website

Sources & Citations

  1. Maidstone Consulting, Protecting against influenza in Australia 2015, A Study of Influenza-Related Behaviours and Attitudes in Australia, February 2015.
  2. Palmer LA et al. Vaccine 2010;28(31):5049-5056.
  3. Australian Government, Department of Health. The Australian Immunisation Handbook 10th Edition. Influenza. Available at: http://immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/Handbook10-home~handbook10part4~handbook10-4-7 (accessed 16 April 2018).
  4. NSW Government. Free flu jab for NSW kids under five this winter. 23 January 2018. Available at: https://www.nsw.gov.au/your-government/the-premier/media-releases-from-the-premier/free-flu-jab-for-nsw-kids-under-five-this-winter/ (accessed 4 February 2018).
  5. Queensland Government. Queensland Health. Free influenza vaccine for children. Available at: https://www.health.qld.gov.au/clinical-practice/guidelines-procedures/diseases-infection/immunisation/free-influenza-vaccine-for-children (accessed 4 February 2018).
  6. Government of South Australia, SA Health. Flu vaccine. Available at: http://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/public+content/sa+health+internet/health+topics/health+conditions+prevention+and+treatment/immunisation/vaccines/flu+vaccine/flu+vaccine  (accessed 20 June 2018).
  7. Minster for Health, the Hon Jill Hennessy. Free Flu Vaccinations to Protect Victorian Kids. Available at: https://www.premier.vic.gov.au/free-flu-vaccinations-to-protect-victorian-kids/ (accessed 20 June 2018).
  8. Government of Western Australia. Department of Health. Influenza immunisation program. Available at: http://ww2.health.wa.gov.au/Articles/F_I/Influenza-immunisation-program (accessed 4 February 2018).
  9. ACT Government. Free flu vaccines for Canberra children this winter. Available at: https://www.cmtedd.act.gov.au/open_government/inform/act_government_media_releases/meegan-fitzharris-mla-media-releases/2018/free-flu-vaccinations-for-canberra-children-this-winter (accessed 30 April 2018).
  10. Centers for Disease Control.  Preventative steps.  Available at:  https://www.cdc.gov/flu/consumer/prevention.htm (accessed 27 April 2018).
  11. Australian Government. Department of Health. National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System. Selected disease by age group and sex. Available at: http://www9.health.gov.au/cda/source/rpt_5.cfm (accessed 2 May 2018).
  12. NSW Government. Influenza vaccine for children 6 months to under 5 years of age – information for immunisation providers. Available at: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/immunisation/Pages/provider-factsheet-kidsflushot.aspx (accessed 4 February 2018).
  13. ABC news. Flu vaccine 2018: Do you need it and when should you get it? Available from: http://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2018-04-09/when-to-get-the-flu-vaccine/9626610 (accessed 2 May 2018).
  14. Centers for Disease Control. Key facts about seasonal flu vaccine. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm (accessed 16 April 2018).
  15. Australian Government Department of Social Services. Families and Children. Available at: https://www.dss.gov.au/our-responsibilities/families-and-children/benefits-payments/strengthening-immunisation-for-young-children/strengthening-immunisation-for-children-frequently-asked-questions (accessed 2 May 2018).



SPANZ.IFLU.18.05.0190 Date of preparation May 2018

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