A quick trip to the chemist is all it takes to avoid being bed-ridden and miserable with the flu, says Community Care Chemist’s David Pyne.
Locals can avoid the debilitating sickness for $20.80, or $10 if they are eligible for the Federal Government’s Immunize Australia Program.
“It’s really nothing, “David says. “You can lose several days’ work or contact with your family, and I don’t think anybody could put a dollar value on that. Anyone over the age of 18 can come in and get a flu vaccination. You don’t have to visit the doctor.”
In Australia, influenza on average causes 3500 deaths, 18,000 hospitalisations and 300,000 GP consultations each year. A lot of people mistake influenza for a common cold, but the flu is much worse, David says. “When you get the flu, you’ll know it. It’s absolutely debilitating - your whole body aches and generally you really can’t do anything.”
The chemist offers the quadrivalent vaccine which immunises clients against four strains, including the most dangerous and most prevalent. “It’s definitely not 100 per cent effective but it’s close,” David says. “And it gives you a better chance of fighting other strains because your body has to do less work to produce the antibodies to fight a new strain. “But even then it’s not very likely for you to get another strain.”
Scores of double-blind experiments worldwide have confirmed it is impossible to get the flu from the vaccination. The vaccine works by exposing the immune system to the inactive “shell” of the virus, and the body responds by producing antibodies, David says.
“When your body comes into contact with actual virus those antibodies are there and ready to kill it.” David hears anecdotes about people getting sick after the flu shot.
He says it is possible to get mild symptoms a couple of days after the shot but “that’s due to your immune system in action.” He adds the body can raise its temperature to kill what it thinks is a virus. It is also possible to get the flu just before the shot or to get a rhinovirus (common cold) after it.
Community Care Chemist's stores have performed hundreds of vaccinations so far. “But we would like to do a lot more,” David says.
With Community Care Chemist’s stores already heavily booked out, David encourages customers to book ahead. “We get a lot of people from local businesses walking in,” he says. “We’re offering vaccinations almost every day.”
To book, phone one of Community Care Chemist’s stores at North Geelong on 5278 4300, Belmont on 5241 1755 or Geelong West on 5246 5850.