Should Kids Get The Flu Shot?
- Parents Only
Winter is coming - and so is the flu season. With the impact of Coronavirus still fresh in our collective consciousness, parents are being uber vigilant when it comes to protecting our children's health.
The highly contagious flu virus can be carried by the most inane cough or sneeze, and can lurk on the most sanitary of surfaces, waiting to latch on to a vulnerable immune system! The vaccine is designed to protect individuals from the effects of the virus, as well as limit the spread of illness throughout the community.
Should Kids Get It?
In short, yes! The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone over six months of age, and especially young children and those with a higher risk of catching the virus due to existing medical conditions. It is also highly recommended for at-risk family members, including pregnant mums.
The vaccine reduces the risk of illness and can also lessen the severity of the symptoms if you do catch the flu. It is the most effective way to protect your family against influenza.
When Should We Get The Shot?
It is recommended that everyone should get the flu vaccine before winter every year. The most common strains of the virus change each year and the vaccines are updated accordingly, so it's important to make the flu vaccine an annual appointment.
Now is a great time to get the flu shot, as it is strongest 3 to 4 months after you are vaccinated.
How Does It Happen?
The vaccine is administered by a needle injected into the muscle, usually in the upper arm, and it's crucial that everyone gets the right vaccine for their age.
If children are getting the flu vaccine for the first time they will receive two doses, at least four weeks apart.
How Much Is It?
Under the National Immunisation Program, vaccines are free for people who are eligible, which includes all children 6 months to 5 years old, as well as other high-risk groups. Even though the vaccine is free, health care providers may charge a consultation fee for the visit.
If you are not eligible for a free vaccine under the NIP, you may need to pay for it, and cost varies. Your immunisation provider should be able to calculate this cost for you.
Is It Safe?
In Australia, all current vaccines must pass strict safety standards before being approved for use by the Therapeutic Goods Administration. Flu vaccines in Australia are ‘inactivated’ and do not contain the live flu virus, so you can't catch the flu from the vaccine.
What Are The Side Effects?
Most medicines and vaccines can have side effects and although they can be serious, most of the time they’re not. In fact, catching the disease could prove much worse.
The most common side effects of the flu vaccine are pain, swelling and redness following the injection, though fever, tiredness and body aches can also occur.
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