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Have you got your flu shot?

Wednesday, 29th May, 2019

Good Price Pharmacy’s Ksenia Golobokova with a flu vaccine. PICTURE: Callum Marshall Good Price Pharmacy’s Ksenia Golobokova with a flu vaccine. PICTURE: Callum Marshall

By Callum Marshall

Local pharmacists are urging people to get their flu shot while they still can, with the country in the midst of one of its worst flu seasons.

There have been about 40,000 laboratory-confirmed cases across the country already and 37 deaths in NSW alone, and pharmacists at Good Price Pharmacy said time was running out to get your shot.

“If you do intend to get a flu shot, you should probably get it soon because we’re down to about 150 vaccines and there’s no guarantees that we’ll get any more after that,” said pharmacist Jason Harvey.

“2017 was a really bad year and last year it dropped by about 90 per cent, but this year it’s back up again and it seems to have hit a lot earlier as well.”

Fellow pharmacist Ksenia Golobokova said the vaccine did not give you the flu because it was an inactivated vaccine.

“There’s a lot of debate where people think they’re not going to have the vaccine because they’ll get sick afterwards, but that’s not the case,” added Mr Harvey.

“It does trigger an immune response from your body but that just means your immune system is responding to the vaccine and it’s working,” said Ms Golobokova.

Mr Harvey said it wasn’t yet known why this season was particularly bad, and that the year’s vaccines emerged as a ‘best guess’ response to coming strains.

“At the end of the year all the health departments will get together and work out what strains of flu they think are going to hit and in the following year they’ll create the vaccine from those strains,” he said.

“However, most of the people who’ve got the flu though haven’t had the vaccines so a lot of it’s probably people being naive and not getting it done.”

“And they’re saying that because last year was a milder season, less people were getting the flu vaccines so the immunity this year is a bit low,” added Ms Golobokova.

In spite of the bad flu season, both said that the local response had been very good.

“There has been one laboratory-confirmed case for the Far West district...and the numbers are the lowest in New South Wales,” said Ms Golobokova.

“So it sounds like we’re doing a good job.”

“Outback Pharmacies are approaching 650 (shots) which is a lot more than we did last year,” added Mr Harvey.

He said the vaccine cost $19.95 and the patient had to sit down for 15 minutes afterwards so they could be monitored to make sure they did not have any reactions to it.

“There’s only certain times we can do them though, because you have to make sure there’s specially trained pharmacists or interns who can do them under an appropriate staff member in the shop.

“At the start of the week we’ll normally advertise on our (Outback Pharmacies group) Facebook page what those available times are, but if it’s outside those times or you don’t have Facebook, you can always contact one of the pharmacies and we can try and fit you in.”

You can contact Good Price Pharmacy on 8087 2266, or the other Outback Pharmacies stores on 8087 3452 (Temby’s) or 8087 3326 (C.P. Peoples.) The pharmacists can also give Whooping Cough and Measles vaccines.

The flu vaccine is free if you are over 65, or of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent, have a certain medical condition or are pregnant. To get a free one, consult your GP rather than through the pharmacies.

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