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The Lowdown on Flu Vaccinations

on 11 Nov 2013 5:48 AM
Blog Category: Health Blog

How badly did this year’s flu season impact upon productivity within your business/company? Figures show that 1 million working days are lost in Australia each year due to the flu and that 2,500 Australians die from the flu each year.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness and at times can lead to death. Flu is unpredictable and how severe it is can vary widely from one season to the next depending on many things including what flu viruses are spreading, how much flu vaccine is available and how many people get vaccinated.

As the World Health Organisation says on their website – ‘Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent infection and severe outcomes caused by influenza viruses’. Protect your workforce and your business with our annual onsite flu vaccination clinics.

The table below outlines the medical conditions that are associated with an increased risk of influenza disease complications.

Category Vaccination strongly recommended for individuals aged 6 months and over with the following clinical conditions
Cardiac disease Cyanotic congenital heart disease Congestive heart failure Coronary artery disease
Chronic respiratory conditions Severe asthma (for which frequent hospitalisation is required) Cystic fibrosis Bronchiectasis Suppurative lung disease Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) Chronic emphysema
Chronic neurological conditions Hereditary and degenerative CNS diseases† (including multiple sclerosis) Seizure disorders Spinal cord injuries Neuromuscular disorders
Immunocompromising conditions Immunosuppressive therapy due to disease or treatment (e.g. malignancy, transplantation, HIV and/or chronic steroid use) Asplenia or splenic dysfunction HIV infection
Diabetes and other metabolic disorders Type 1 diabetes Type 2 diabetes Chronic metabolic disorders
Renal disease Chronic renal failure
Haematological disorders Haemoglobinopathies
Long-term aspirin therapy in children aged 6 months to 10 years These children are at increased risk of Reye syndrome following influenza infection

Facts about Flu Vaccinations:
  • The influenza vaccine is generally well tolerated however staff are asked to stay close by for 15 mins after their injection to ensure no reaction sets in.
  • As with all medicines, the vaccine may cause some side-effects. These are usually very minor and dissipate quite quickly.
  • Some patients report redness or discomfort at injection site but this will disappear within a few days.
  • A few patients will develop a mild fever and muscle pains or feel generally unwell, for one or two days after the injection. The flu like symptoms don’t mean they have the flu, it is simply their body’s natural response to the vaccine. 

Seasonal influenza vaccines contain antigens from three strains of influenza virus – usually two current influenza A subtypes and one influenza B. As predominant circulating virus strains can vary from year to year, the composition of the vaccines for use in Australia is determined annually by the Australian Influenza Vaccine Committee (AIVC), so that the dominant influenza strains predicted to be circulating in the current influenza season are included in the vaccine.

Influenza is a vaccine preventable disease but vaccines need to be given each year because the viruses/strains are always changing. This means that to maintain protection for your workforce you need to conduct an annual onsite vaccination clinic. Contrary to popular belief, you can’t get the flu from the vaccine so your business won’t suffer any downtime due to the vaccination program.

ACT NOW to reduce absenteeism next winter. Enquire about our Flu Vaccination program

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