The flu and COVID-19 – do I still need my flu shot?

Posted: Mar 08 2022

Although we have seen fewer cases of the flu over the past 2 years, influenza is still a highly contagious respiratory illness, and can be especially serious for some people.

Flu shot web

We spoke to Matt Boulter, Pharmacist from TerryWhite Chemmart Compounding about the flu shot vaccine and COVID-19 booster. “It’s perfectly fine to have the flu shot vaccine at the same time as COVID-19 booster. It’s a good idea to maximise our protection, particularly as we come into winter. With international boarders reopening and mask mandates easing, this will circulate influenza more this year than in previous.”

"We’ve done a good job of protecting each other and ourselves from COVID-19, now we need to do the same against influenza and get a flu shot. Especially for those of us around people at higher risk, family members or the elderly."

While all everyone are encouraged to receive a flu vaccination each year, it is strongly suggested that individuals in the below groups are vaccinated against the flu:

  • People with underlying health conditions
  • Young children
  • The elderly
  • Pregnant women (and their family members)
  • People who could pass the flu on to people at risk of complications
  • Workers providing essential services or in high risk of transmission settings

Flu vaccinations are also mandatory for individuals who are visiting aged care facilities, along with two doses of a recognised COVID-19 vaccination and booster, within four weeks of becoming eligible, from 29 January 2022 (SA Government).

The flu and COVID-19

“We need to remember they’re 2 different viruses with no overlap protection between either one; COVID-19 vaccinations won’t protect against influenza, and vice versa,” says Matt, Pharmacist at TerryWhite.

While the flu vaccine won’t prevent you from contracting COVID-19, it will help reduce the severity and spread of the flu. Plus, many of the steps to protect yourself against the flu will help to protect yourself and others against COVID-19, such as practicing good hand hygiene, staying home if you are unwell, getting tested and being up to date with vaccinations and boosters.

Your doctor can advise how long you need to wait after getting your flu vaccination before getting further vaccinations.

To avoid becoming unwell with the flu:

  • Get your flu shot
    The best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated before the flu season starts, aiming for April. It is important to get your flu shot every year, as the most common strains change annually, with the vaccine also changing each year to match these strains1.
  • Wash your hands
    Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds to completely get rid of flu-causing germs. Remember to wash the back of your hands, in between your fingers and underneath your fingernails. Using an alcohol-based antibacterial hand sanitiser is also very effective if you’re out and about and can’t wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Cover your mouth and nose
    Use a tissue to cough or sneeze when you’re unwell, and immediately bin your tissue. Cough into your elbow if you do not have a tissue handy.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
    Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches their eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Stay home if unwell
    If you feel unwell, it’s best to stay home and rest to prevent infecting others.
  • Get tested
    COVID-19 and the flu share some similar symptoms so it’s important to monitor your symptoms, get a COVID test and follow advice and directions from health authorities.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle
    It’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle all year round, through good nutrition, plenty of fluids, adequate sleep and regular exercise.

If you have questions about influenza, COVID-19, or getting vaccinations, visit the SA Health website or speak with your GP.

Margaret Check Your Cover

Free Flu Shots

Health Partners members can receive a free flu shot at over 50 Health Partners Pharmacies. And if you’re too far from one, you’ll still be looked after.

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or call us on 1300 113 113.

1Australian Government Department of Health 2020 , Flu (influenza) immunisation service, Department of Health, <https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation/immunisation-services/flu-influenza-immunisation-service-0>

Posted: Mar 08 2022

Disclaimer

The information contained here is of a general nature and does not take into account your personal medical situation. The information is not a substitute for independent professional medical advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or used for therapeutic purposes. Should you require specific medical information, please seek advice from your healthcare practitioner. Health Partners does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information provided. While we have prepared the information carefully, we can’t guarantee that it is accurate, complete or up-to-date. And while we may mention goods or services provided by others, we aren’t specifically endorsing them and can’t accept responsibility for them.

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