If you want to know how long do flu shots last, remember that each year the vaccine is strain-specific, so you do need to have a vaccination every year to stay immune to seasonal strains of the virus that are going around. One flu shot is expected to last for a full year, so there is no need to have a second shot, unless otherwise instructed by your healthcare professional.
Let’s take a look at how long flu shots are effective for and how you can maximise your protection against the virus.
When Should You Have The Flu Vaccine?
The influenza vaccine is most effective when it is administered during the flu season, which typically happens between June and September in Australia. It is advisable to be vaccinated before the start of flu season however, so that your vaccine has a chance to work and help you develop immunity before the peak of Winter.
Your immunity to the flu is at its strongest three to four months after you have received your flu vaccination so having your shot before the start of Winter should ensure you have optimal protection during Winter’s peak. If you have any questions about timing you should discuss them with your healthcare practitioner.
While the flu peaks during Winter, it is possible to develop influenza at any time of the year so it is still beneficial to be vaccinated at any time of the year. This is even more important for people traveling overseas and pregnant women.
Immunity against the flu has a peak and then it wears off some time later. Immunity is usually developed between two and three weeks after receiving the vaccination.
Where You Can Get The Flu Shot?
At Sirius Health we make the flu shot available for patients all year round. We currently have flu vaccines available to protect you against the 2019 influenza virus. The 2019 flu vaccines that are available under the National Immunisation Program offer protection against four strains of the flu virus: two kinds of Influenza A and two strains of influenza B.
Who Is A Candidate For The Free Flu Shot?
The National Immunisation Program has made provision for a certain number of flu vaccines to be administered for free, to specific groups of people. For the 2019 season the Australian government has made 6 million flu vaccines available for free.
Groups of people who are entitled to a free influenza vaccination include
- Pregnant women
- Adults and children over the age of six months
- Adults over the age of 65
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders over the age of six months
- People with compromised immunity, or people with medical conditions that make them vulnerable to developing flu. Examples of these conditions include diabetes, chronic kidney disease, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and severe asthma.
These groups of people have been identified as being at higher risk of developing severe forms of the virus and complications from the flu.
People who work closely with those who are more susceptible to developing flu are also advised to have an annual flu vaccine. Examples of these kinds of people include
- People working in the healthcare industry
- People working with children
- People working with elderly people
- Obese people
- People who suffer from liver disease
What Are The Side Effects?
Some patients do experience mild side effects that may present 24 to 48 hours after having the flu vaccine. The most common side effects are redness and soreness at the site of your injection.
Some patients report muscle aches and tiredness after receiving their shot, but is important to note that these side effects are as a result of the vaccine itself, and they are not symptoms of influenza.
Remember that any side effects you may experience are milder and more manageable than developing full-blown flu and the possibility of side effects should not deter you from having the vaccine.
Can I Develop Flu From The Flu Shot?
You cannot get the flu from the vaccine because it does not contain the live flu virus.
Still have questions about how long the flu vaccination lasts, or the National Immunisation Program? We’d love to help you. Please get in touch with us for more information: (02) 9159 6903.