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We have had many enquiries about when people should have their influenza vaccine. Last year there were some deficiencies in the Australian influenza vaccination program and so there are some changes this year to fix these problems.

The following points below explain the situation but it can best be summarised as:

We should all have the flu vaccine, it should be given in May and recent changes to the vaccines mean that your local General Practice is the best place to have it done.

When should I have the flu needle?

  • The peak time for influenza infection in Australia is about August
  • We now know that the effectiveness of the flu vaccine starts to diminish after about 3-4 months
  • We recommend people be vaccinated from late April through to the end of May
  • If you miss out at these times, it is still very worthwhile to be vaccinated at any time over winter.

Do I need the flu needle?

 

  • Influenza is a potentially serious and unpleasant illness in everyone
  • We recommend influenza vaccines for everyone over the age of 6 months
  • Certain groups are eligible for free Government supplied flu vaccines administered by their local doctor
  • These groups are particularly at risk of complications with the flu and include:
  • Adults 65 years and older
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons aged from 6 months to <5 years or 15 years and over
  • Pregnant women no matter what stage of pregnancy
  • People 6 months and over with certain medical conditions putting them at risk of complications. These include:
    • Heart disease
    • Chronic lung disease including asthma
    • Neurological disease
    • A compromised immune system
    • Diabetes
    • Kidney disease
    • Chronic blood diseases

Who should give me the flu needle?

  • This year there are 7 different brands of influenza vaccine on the market and not all are suitable at particular ages
  • Two of these brands are specifically for people over the age of 65 and are only provided through the National Immunisation Program (not privately through pharmacies)
  • Only one brand is suitable for children from the age of 6 months to under 3 years of age.
  • In addition there is one brand not suitable for use in children from 3 years to under 18 years
  • The brand available to those over 65 years of age only provided through General Practices and State immunisation clinics
  • Given this complexity we believe your GP practice is best placed to provide the most suitable brand of vaccine for your age and health circumstance.

At Busselton Medical Practice we have expertise in immunisation of all types. In late April and through May we encourage you to contact us to arrange an influenza vaccine for yourself and your family. Just let our receptionists know you would like a flu needle and they will arrange a convenient time to have it done quickly, easily and safely.

To book an appointment go to our web page www.busseltondoctors.com.au, or download the appointuit app onto your smart phone, or call one of our friendly receptionists on 9752 1133.

BULK BILLING NOW AVAILABLE

Busselton Medical Practice is now bulk billing all Medicare eligible services for Pensioners and children under 16 years of age, who have a valid Medicare card.  

Book your next appointment online by downloading the Appointuit app, or via this web page, alternatively you can call the friendly reception staff on 9752 1133.

New patients welcome.

There is some alarm in the community with regard to reported cases of meningococcal disease and confusion about the availability of vaccines to prevent this disease. There are several sub types of the bacteria Meningococcus and unfortunately there is no single vaccine to cover them all. Meningococcal infection is a rapid developing and a life threatening disease causing meningitis and an overwhelming septicaemia (infection of the blood).

The current childhood immunisation scheme delivers a vaccine against Meningococcal C at 12 months of age together with other routine vaccines. This has been the case for many years.

The WA Health Department has recently started to provide the second type of Meningococcal vaccine against strains ACWY. This is to combat the 2 strains that are currently causing concern. Initially this has been through the schools for teens between the ages of 15 to 19 inclusive. In addition all medical practices have been provided with stock to immunise these same age groups if they missed out on the school program or have now left school. So if you are eligible or have a child who is in these age groups we urge you strongly to make an appointment for this free vaccine.

The Meningococcal ACWY vaccine is still indicated for other children (and adults) as well but is currently not free. It can be used down to the age of 2 months of age and we also suggest parents come in to discuss the need for this with their doctor.

The third vaccine is against Meningococcal B virus (trade name Bexsero) which is the commonest form of meningococcal disease in Australia. Again it is not free and can be used in everyone down to the age of 2 months. If you are considering the ACWY vaccine then the Meningococcal vaccine should also be discussed with your doctor.

So if you are between the ages of 15-19 years inclusive then make an appointment to see us for your free vaccine.  We also strongly believe that parents should also discuss the need for a full vaccination program for their children against all types of Meningococcal disease.