Get Your ‘Flu Vaccination Now
Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) virologist Dr Lance Jennings is urging Cantabrians to get their ‘flu vaccination now, before winter sets in.
Dr Jennings, who is also spokesperson for the National Influenza Strategy Group (NISG), said having the vaccination was the best protection against influenza– a serious infection that is easily spread between people. He recommended people should get their influenza vaccination now before ‘flu became prevalent in the community. "Influenza is far more severe than a ‘bad cold’ and can lead to serious complications if someone already has an existing medical condition”, he said. Here is why it is important to be vaccinated now:
• People 65 and over, or with a long term health condition are considered to be at ‘high risk’ of being affected by complications which can arise from ‘flu, such as pneumonia and heart failure
• A bout of ‘flu increases the immediate risk of having a heart attack or stroke
• The vaccine is free until 30 June for people 65 and over, or under 65 with a long term health condition, such as asthma or diabetes
• The ‘flu vaccination is available from General Practices
• Get vaccinated before winter- it can take up to two weeks to develop immunity.
Dr Jennings also debunks some common myths and clarifies more about the vaccine and virus:
• The vaccine can’t ‘give’ you the ‘flu as there is no live virus in the vaccine
• You may experience some side effects, such as redness at the site of the injection or a mild fever
• This year the Southern Hemisphere vaccine is different from the Northern Hemisphere vaccine, so seek advice from your GP if travelling
• Have your vaccination each year as you are only immune to a particular strain of the virus if you have had it before.
“Influenza doesn’t care how fit, active or healthy you are – it can affect even the healthiest of people as well as those who are in poor physical health,” said Dr Jennings.
The CDHB is also running a campaign to encourage its staff to get their ‘flu vaccinations to protect themselves and potentially save the lives of patients this winter.