As coughs and sniffles begin to take hold, local pharmacists are urging Goondiwindi residents to book a flu vaccination before the height of the season.
Pharmacist Lucy Walker said the more people who received their shots, the more the town’s most vulnerable community members would be protected.
“It affects your whole family, it affects your workplace, it affects anyone else in the whole community that you infect as well,” she said.
“There are some people who can’t get immunised, and this way if everyone else is, there’s less likely (to be) a flu spread.”
Pharmacy assistant Kim Magann was reminded not to take her health for granted last year when a neglected vaccination resulted in two heavy bouts of the flu.
“It knocked my socks off,” she said. “I was very unwell. I had a lot of trouble with my asthma, my breathing, and I honestly couldn’t get off the couch.” Kim even passed it on to her daughter.
“She was on one couch, I was on the other couch and we didn’t move for a good week and a half,” she said.
Kim learnt her lesson, and was first in line to get her vaccination this year. She said her experience was proof that no matter how well informed you are, it was easy to forget the flu shot. She encouraged locals to book one sooner rather than later.
“Definitely make time to get it done. It doesn’t take that long,” she said.
Pharmacist Nadia Venske was keen to bust some myths surrounding the vaccination.
“I do very commonly hear that ‘I don’t want to get the flu vaccine because it makes me sick’,” she said. “There’s no live virus in these vaccines. You can’t actually get sick from it.” Nadia said common side effects of vaccinations were a sore arm, redness and swelling. Recipients might also have a body ache or fever, but not the flu itself.
She warned that the vaccination does not prevent colds, but does give insurance against the most prevalent influenza strains.
This year is the first that pharmacists Australia-wide will be able to administer flu shots. Part of the initial pilot study, Lucy was pleased to see accessibility to vaccines grow, and said that pharmacies provided an alternative to healthy people who don’t want to visit their doctor.
The elderly, pregnant, Indigenous or those considered medically at risk can receive a free vaccination from their doctor as part of the National Immunisation Program.