Patience urged as demand for influenza vaccine surges
THE public health message urging people to get their influenza vaccine seems to be working, with GP practices fielding a large number of calls.
With the increased demand, however, there may be some delays so please be patient and keep in touch with your GP to find out when you can get yours.
Each year there is a staggered delivery process with pharmacies often receiving stock of the private vaccines well before the GPs get the government-funded ones.
Even when the funded vaccines arrive, they often only come in small numbers until April when the larger batches arrive. Therefore, you may find that you cannot book in for your needle for a few weeks. However, don't worry as there is plenty of time before we expect the flu season to start.
It is more important than ever to get the influenza vaccine this year. Evidence suggests that catching both COVID-19 and influenza at the same time increases the likelihood of severe disease. While it may be reasonable to assume that there will be less influenza cases this year due to social distancing it is still very important that we leave hospital beds as empty as possible by protecting as many of the community as we can. Even if you have never had the vaccine before now is a good time to start.
I often hear patients tell the story that the needle 'gave them the flu' and this is a common misconception. The needle works by giving a small, harmless, part of the virus to stimulate your immune system to recognise and remember it.
While your immune system is hard at work you may feel some of the common viral symptoms you normally associate with being unwell so don't be alarmed.
There are a number of different types and brands of influenza vaccines on the market that cover all ages above six months old and it's recommended everyone who can be vaccinated, should be.
Those with chronic health conditions such as asthma, and all those above 65 years old are entitled to the government-funded vaccine and they can get this from their GP. Those under 65 who are not eligible for the funded vaccine can access a private vaccine from their GP or pharmacy.
Originally published as Patience urged as demand for influenza vaccine surges