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There is now official advice about swine flu in Australia. It comes from Your Health, a quarterly, peer-reviewed medical newsletter for Australian doctors.
Swine flu vaccine available soon
Date last reviewed: 28 September 2009
The new FREE swine flu vaccine (pandemic H1N1 2009 influenza) has been approved and should be available from Wednesday 30 September from your doctor’s surgery.
Although the epidemic has peaked, the virus may come back in spring and summer as well as winter 2010.
Who should be vaccinated?
A single dose of the vaccine is recommended for all adults. Although the swine flu is mild in most cases, it is sometimes severe, especially in younger people. Over 180 deaths have occurred in Australia.
What are the priority groups?
All people can get vaccinated but some people are more at risk of severe outcomes if they catch this flu. Vaccination is strongly recommended for:
• Pregnant women
• Parents and guardians of infants up to six months old
• People with underlying chronic conditions, including:
- heart disease
- asthma and other lung diseases
- kidney disease
- neurological disease (conditions of brain, spine and nerves)
- other chronic conditions (talk to your GP)
• People who are severely obese
• Indigenous Australians
• Frontline health workers
• Community care workers
Can children be vaccinated?
No. the vaccine is not yet approved under the age of 10 years.
Is the vaccine safe?
Yes. The vaccine is as safe as the seasonal flu vaccine and is made in Australia by CSL Limited. You cannot catch influenza from the vaccine as it does not contain any 'live' flu virus. It can be given safely to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Who should NOT be vaccinated?
You should not be vaccinated if you:
• Have severe egg allergy
• Are moderately or severely ill with a fever
• Have experienced a severe allergic reaction from a previous influenza vaccine
What are the side-effects?
About 1 in 10 people get swelling, redness and/or pain at the injection site. Other symptoms such as fever, tiredness, headaches and muscle aches are less common. Side-effects may last for 1-2 days.
How long does protection last?
Immunity from vaccination is expected to last about a year. The vaccine takes about 2 weeks to work.
Is it free?
The vaccine is free, although there may be a consultation fee from your doctor. The vaccine cannot be purchased privately.
When is the vaccine available?
The vaccine is currently being distributed to medical practices. It is expected to be available from our surgery from Wednesday this week, 30 September.