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Flu Shot 2021



Vaccination against influenza (flu) remains important this year. Flu is a highly contagious viral infection that can cause widespread illness and deaths every year. Vaccination is our best defence against flu viruses.

Behaviours such as increased hand washing and social distancing helped to stop the spread of flu viruses in the community last year. Relaxing social distancing restrictions this year may allow flu viruses to recirculate, even if they were hardly seen in 2020.

Who should get a flu vaccine?
Vaccination experts recommend flu vaccination for all people aged 6 months and over.

Who is eligible for a free flu vaccine?
Under the National Immunisation Program, free flu vaccines are provided to the following groups who are at higher risk of complications from flu:

  • children aged 6 months to less than 5 years
  • all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over
  • people aged 6 months and over with certain medical conditions that increase their chance of severe influenza and its complications
  • pregnant women (at any stage during pregnancy)
  • people aged 65 years and over.


When will flu vaccines be available?
Free flu vaccines under the National Immunisation Program will become available in April 2021. Vaccinating in autumn provides protection before the peak influenza season.

Free flu vaccines will be available from GPs, community health clinics, Aboriginal Medical Services and other immunisation providers in your state or territory. To locate a service in your area you can search the National Health Services Directory.

Check with your immunisation provider to find out when they will have the vaccine available and when you can book in to get the vaccine.

If you are not eligible for a free flu vaccine, you can purchase the vaccine from your GP, a pharmacy, or another immunisation provider.

Can I get a flu vaccine at the same time as a COVID-19 vaccine?
Vaccination experts recommend waiting 14 days between getting a flu vaccine and a COVID-19 vaccine. Given this, it will be important to plan both vaccinations.

It doesn’t matter in what order you get the vaccines. However:

  1. if you are in earlier phases for COVID-19 vaccination, you should get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon you can. You can then plan your flu vaccination.
  2. if you are in later phases for COVID-19 vaccination, you should get the flu vaccine as soon as you can. This will ensure you are ready to get your COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to you.

You can check what phase you are in using the COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Checker.

When you book in for your flu vaccination, remember to tell your vaccination provider or clinic if you have received the COVID-19 vaccine (and when you received it). This will help them to plan your appointment.

Your immunisation provider is required to report all flu vaccinations to the Register. This includes some personal information such as your name, date of birth, contact details, and your Medicare card number.

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General Information
 

Gardasil - HPV Vaccination

A vaccine called Gardasil 9 has been developed that protects against nine HPV types which cause around 90% of cervical cancers in women (and the majority of other HPV-related cancers in women), 95% of all HPV-related cancers in men and 90% of genital warts.

HPV-related cancers include almost all cancers of the cervix, and a proportion of cancers of the anus, vulva, vagina, penis and throat.

Gardasil 9 provides fully vaccinated people with protection against nine types of HPV including:


  • types 16 and 18, the two types that cause the majority of HPV-related cancers
  • the five next most common HPV types associated with cervical cancer (types 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58)
  • two non-cancer-causing HPV types (types 6 and 11), which cause 90% of genital warts.

Gardasil 9 is used in the school-based National HPV Vaccination Program (from 2018). It replaced Gardasil, which protected against four HPV types and was in use bewteen 2007 and 2017.

Australia's Professor Ian Frazer and his team at the University of Queensland discovered how to make the vaccine particles, which form the basis of the HPV vaccine.

New HPV vaccine in 2018

  • In 2018 the National Immunisation Program will adopt a new HPV vaccine which protects against 9 HPV types (9vHPV or Gardasil9®) in a 2-dose schedule given at least 6 months apart. This vaccine protects against additional high-risk HPV types to protect against over 90% of cervical cancers in women and also against additional cancers in men.
  • The new 9vHPV vaccine will be available for ordering in early 2018 on NSW Health’s online vaccine ordering system at https://nsw.tollhealthcare.com/


2-dose schedule for any HPV vaccine

  • The latest international studies demonstrate that a 2-dose schedule of any HPV vaccine given to individuals aged 9-14 years at least 6 months apart gives equivalent protection to a 3-dose schedule given at 0, 2 and 6 months for most individuals (see exceptions below).
  • In 2017, a 2-dose 4vHPV vaccine (Gardasil®) schedule has been adopted for Year 7 students in the NSW School Vaccination Program as the second dose of HPV vaccine was deferred to accommodate the urgent roll-out of the Meningococcal W Response Program to Year 11 and 12 students. These students are therefore fully vaccinated and do not need a third dose.
  • Parents are being advised of the schedule change, and those who still wish for their child to receive a third dose in 2017 can obtain it via their GP.
  • A draft updated chapter of the NHMRC’s Australian Immunisation Handbook has been released to incorporate the implementation of the 2-dose HPV schedule in Australia.


Exceptions to 2-dose HPV schedule

  • Some individuals are still recommended to have a 3-dose schedule at 0, 2 and 6 months, including those who receive their first dose of HPV vaccine at 15 years of age or older, and those with significant immunocompromise (detailed advice at www.health.nsw.gov.au/hpv).


Catch-up vaccination up to 19 years

  • Providers can offer free HPV catch-up vaccination to adolescents aged 10-19 years under the Australian Government’s catch-up program (see www.health.nsw.gov.au/immunisation).
  • In 2017, this means a course of Gardasil®, and can be administered as a 2-dose schedule if commenced prior to the 15th birthday, or a 3-dose schedule for those aged 15-19 years.
  • In 2018 providers will be able to offer two doses of free Gardasil9® vaccine to adolescents 10-19 years of age, however adolescents who commence the schedule after their 15th birthday should pay for the third dose.
  • GPs are strongly encouraged to notify each dose of HPV vaccine administered to the National HPV Register.


Further Information
• NSW Health’s HPV website: www.health.nsw.gov.au/hpv
• Contact your local public health unit on 1300 066 055

The information in the above were collected from the internet,
either from government websites or from reasonably reliable health information sources.
They are for general information only and should not replace the need of seeking medical care during illnesses.

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