Seniors offered super effective flu vaccines

New flu injections developed especially for seniors to boost their immunity.

Seniors offered super effective flu vaccines

This year for the first time, people aged over 65 are being offered one of two influenza vaccines whose effectiveness has been significantly boosted.

All up, there will be six different types of vaccines but the two being recommended for older Australians protect against three viruses and are known as trivalents – they are Fluzone High Dose by Sanofi-Aventis and Fluad by Seqirus. The Therapeutics Goods Administration says they are available now.

In 2017, visits to hospital by patients suffering with flu soared 50 per cent. More than 221,000 flu infections were recorded around the nation – the highest ever – and many who fell sick had had a flu shot.

Last year’s nasty flu season rang alarm bells for health authorities, who determined that standard vaccines were probably not particularly effective in the elderly.

As a result, two vaccines have been developed for this year’s flu season and both are designed to enhance immunity. One is a high-dose vaccine with four times the strength of the standard vaccine, and the other is an “adjuvanted” shot that has a separate compound which also boosts immunity, according to Professor Kanta Subbarao of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity.

Writing for The Conversation, Prof. Subbarao said the effectiveness of seasonal influenza vaccine varied between years.

“(It) is usually around 40 to 50 per cent. But last year’s vaccine was only around 33 per cent effective overall because it was not effective against the A/H3N2 virus though it was effective against the A/H1N1 and influenza B viruses,” she said.

“There are four influenza viruses that cause epidemics: two type A viruses, called A/H1N1 and A/H3N2, and two type B influenza viruses, called B/Yamagata and B/Victoria viruses. In any season, one of the viruses may dominate, or two or even three viruses could circulate.

“Influenza A/H3N2 viruses cause more severe epidemics that affect the entire population, from the very young to the very old. In contrast, influenza B and A/H1N1 viruses tend to cause disease in children and young adults, respectively, sparing the elderly,” she said.

It is no surprise, then, that last year’s flu season was caused by the A/H3N2 virus. According to a Health Department report, the effectiveness of last year’s vaccine was low against that particular virus strain, especially in the elderly.

Those contemplating skipping a flu injection this autumn because of last year’s experience are being warned to rethink. If you are elderly or have a chronic illness, contracting influenza puts you at risk of serious, even deadly, complications.

Medical authorities say that you cannot catch the flu from the vaccine and apart from some local soreness at the point of injection, it will not make you sick. Some people may experience a few temporary side-effects, such as nausea, headache, fever or muscle aches. These usually settle after a few days.

In addition to those aged over 65, people with severe asthma, lung or heart disease, low immunity or diabetes can get their jabs for free. For others it costs less than $25. If your doctor does not bulk bill, there will also be a cost for the consultation. If you choose to be vaccinated by your pharmacist, make sure they are stocking the new vaccines that were released this month.

For more information about the flu vaccine, visit the Immunisation Coalition website.

Did you catch the flu last year even though you were vaccinated? Are you planning on being vaccinated this year?



    To make a comment, please register or login
    20th Apr 2018
    Had mine this morning.
    Old Geezer
    20th Apr 2018
    No thanks I'd rather get the flu.
    21st Apr 2018
    With all due respect, I believe that this comment is really foolish. The flu will knock you off your feet.
    22nd Apr 2018
    I agree CindyLou....when I had it eight years ago and lost practically all my hearing (and as a consequence have to wear two hearing aids)
    I was so sick for three weeks that I honestly thought I was going to kick the bucket. I have never missed having the flu shot and have not had it. I am just waiting the call from my doctor to go and get it
    20th Apr 2018
    Think about the timing of the flu shot. The high danger period is about 4 months and the shot is effective for the less than that -- see the Cth Govt pamphlet at
    Old Geezer
    20th Apr 2018
    Only people I know that get the flu have one of those shots.
    20th Apr 2018
    If you take the trouble to read the details, the high potency shot lasts for about twelve months.

    To OG, I and my wife and my next door neighbours have been having the flu shots since they started, and we have never had the flu since doing so, so that messes up your statistics.
    20th Apr 2018
    You cannot get the flu from the below as to a question asked "can you get the flu from a shot fhot"?

    "The flu vaccine only protects against influenza, not other illnesses. Another explanation is that it is possible to be exposed to influenza viruses, which cause the flu, shortly before getting vaccinated or during the two-week period after vaccination that it takes the body to develop immune protection."
    Old Geezer
    20th Apr 2018
    I am certainly not going to get a flu shot and take the risk on getting the flu. Never had it and probably never will.
    20th Apr 2018
    My health is important to me and I will do what I can to avoid this flu as best I can. I know from personal experience what can happen if you get a very bad dose of it which I did.

    If people are willing to risk it; so be is your body not mine.
    20th Apr 2018
    Hope this new vaccine doesn't crash my wellness for a few days, it wont take much.
    20th Apr 2018
    For those who lost their Pensionner Concession card AFTER 1/1/2017 , ie, those who had LESS than $800000 on that day. and lost it a few days later in spite of liar Turnbull saying that ALL those who lost it due to Hockeys changes to the assets test, Well , you are in for a shock because we have found a lot of medical practices do NOT accept the Commonwealth Concesion Card in spite of Liar Turnbulls lies, so you will have to pay for the consultation as well. An extra $75 .
    20th Apr 2018
    I'm glad they are now available. Last time I asked at my local Medical Centre they didn't know the actual date in April that they would be available.
    21st Apr 2018
    I saw an advert on wall of nearby chemist re flu shot for $11.95. Chemist said it was the latest - I've had a rough few weeks with fractured wrist, fed up with myself so I'm intending having the flu shot as I'm so over being restricted.

    The flu is horrible - had it once over 20 years ago - felt like crap.

    7th Jun 2018
    Yes... Genocide the elderly to safe on paying them pensions.
    More money for Big Pharma and the government.

    NO WAY !!!!!!!!

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