I was noticing on my way into the office today that it is “that” time of year again. The time of year when I actually can’t notice anything on my commute to the office because it is so dark outside! This means that winter is on its way to Australia and although I never actually put my barbeque away for any season, the days are going to be getting colder, darker and shorter. Here in Australia, it is also time for the annual influenza campaigns by the Health Authorities, including NSW. Do you get a flu shot?
I have been getting a flu shot (or jab, as I was informed this morning) since I was a teenager. This will be my first flu shot since I have moved to Australia and I have to admit, I’m excited about it. Not because I like needles (because I don’t) and not because I have a particular interest in vaccinations (because I don’t) but because I didn’t get one when I moved here last year. So, I missed a year of getting vaccinated but interestingly enough, I haven’t missed a year of being protected. My flu vaccine this year will “catch me up.” This is because the World Health Organization recommends what should be in the vaccination and Canada had already finished their flu campaign for the winter of 2011-12 when I moved here. So, I am going to be vaccinated with something that is recommended for the population in Australia, which for this year was also recommended for the past flu season in Canada.1
NSW Health recommends that all persons aged 65 or older have an influenza vaccine, as well as pregnant women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander peoples aged 15 years or older and people with certain medical conditions including diabetes, cardiac disease and COPD. The full list of recommendations can be accessed on their website.2
So, unless you have plans to migrate to Canada in order to avoid having “the jab” in the next few months, I would encourage you to consider having a flu shot. In fact, the WHO states, “those with essential functions in society” should have an annual flu vaccination.3 I think we are all important enough to require a flu shot.