Flu Vaccination Season – Recap and Resources for Nurses
Published: 20 April 2017
Published: 20 April 2017
‘The annual National Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Program will commence in April 2017.’
(NSW Health 2017)
This article is a quick brush up on injection technique and a reminder about what the ‘flu vacc.’ is. Obviously, you will need to be familiar with, and work according to, your workplace organisational policies, procedures and protocols, as well as professional and ethical standards. Below we will examine information put forward by the New South Wales State and Australian Governments as well as the World Health Organisation (WHO).
‘The flu’ or influenza is very contagious and spreadable by close contact, contact with infected hands, contact with infected hard surfaces, sneezing, or coughing.
Signs such as: headache, runny nose, decreased appetite, chills, tiredness, sore muscles, fever, and sore throat can occur (usually around 3 days post-infection); and serious (potentially fatal) complications of the flu can involve sinus infections, bronchitis, pneumonia and even complications of the heart, liver and blood (Department of Health, 2017).
There are three different types of influenza viruses that infect humans. They are influenza A, B and C. ‘Only influenza A and B cause major outbreaks and severe disease, and these types are included in seasonal influenza vaccines’ (Department of Health, 2017).
From your experience working in healthcare or your health studies, you are probably aware that the groups most at risk of the dangers or complications of the flu are: older adults, pregnant women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, very young children, and people with medical conditions (Department of Health, 2017).
It is important to note also that ‘Immunisation providers should report influenza vaccines given to all people to the Australian Immunisation Register (taking care to note the correct vaccine brand name).’; and, that ‘Immunisation providers should report any suspected adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) directly to their local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055.’ (NSW Health 2017).
This year, the flu shot will be available throughout April from GP surgeries and other providers. It is available free under the Nationa Immunisation Program for people who face a ‘high risk’ from influenza, though is recommended for all people over six months old (Department of Health 2017).
In 2017, four age-specific vaccines will be available under the National Immunisation program. Visit the Australian Government Department of Health website for more information and the names of each vaccine (‘parents should make sure vaccination providers know the age of their child so they can receive the correct vaccine’) (2017).
Other points to be aware of:
(Department of Health 2017)
(Department of Health, page updated 6th March 2017).
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Madeline Gilkes focused the research project for her master's of healthcare leadership on health coaching for long-term weight loss in obese adults. Madeline is also a qualified weight management practitioner and Registered Nurse. Her vision is to prevent lifestyle diseases, obesogenic environments, dementia, and metabolic syndrome. She has a master of healthcare leadership, a graduate certificate in aged care, and a bachelor of nursing. Madeline works as an academic and has spent the past years in the role of clinical facilitator and clinical nurse specialist (gerontology & education). She is due to complete her Graduate Certificate in Adult and Vocational Education at CSU before November 2018.