The FREE swine flu vaccine (pandemic H1N1 influenza) is currently available from your doctor’s surgery.

A second wave of swine flu (pandemic influenza H1N1 2009) is expected in Australia in the next few months and is likely to be more severe than last year’s epidemic.

Who should be vaccinated?

A single dose of the vaccine is recommended for all adults. Although the swine flu is mild in most cases, it is sometimes severe, especially in younger people. Over 190 deaths have occurred in Australia.

What are the priority groups?

All people can get vaccinated but some people are more at risk of severe outcomes if they catch this flu. Vaccination is strongly recommended for: 

  • Pregnant women
  • Parents and guardians of infants up to six months old
  • People with underlying chronic conditions, including:
    • heart disease
    • asthma and other lung diseases
    • cancer
    • diabetes
    • kidney disease
    • neurological disease (conditions of brain, spine and nerves)
    • other chronic conditions (talk to your GP)
  • People who are severely obese
  • Indigenous Australians
  • Frontline health workers
  • Community care workers

Is the vaccine safe?

Yes. The vaccine is as safe as the seasonal flu vaccine and is made in Australia by CSL Limited. You cannot catch influenza from the vaccine as it does not contain any ‘live’ flu virus. It can be given safely to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Who should NOT be vaccinated?

You should not be vaccinated if you:

  • Have severe egg allergy
  • Are moderately or severely ill with a fever
  • Have experienced a severe allergic reaction from a previous influenza vaccine

What are the side-effects?

About 1 in 10 people get swelling, redness and/or pain at the injection site. Other symptoms such as fever, tiredness, headaches and muscle aches are less common. Side-effects may last for 1-2 days.

How long does protection last?

Immunity from a vaccination is expected to last about a year. The vaccine takes about 2 weeks to work.

Is it free?

The vaccine is free, although there may be a consultation fee from your doctor. The vaccine cannot be purchased privately.

For further information

Speak to your doctor, go to the Australian Government Swine Flu website or ring the Pandemic Hotline: 1802007

Health Department contact details:

WA: call 1800 186 815 or visit http://www.health.wa.gov.au/swine_flu/home/
SA: call 1800 022 222 or visit and www.flu.sa.gov.au
VIC: call: 1300 882 008 or visit www.humanswineflu.health.vic.gov.au
TAS: 1800 358 362 (1800 FLU DOC) www.pandemic.tas.gov.au
ACT: call 02 6205 2300 or visit www.health.act.gov.au and click on ‘professionals’
NSW: visit www.emergency.health.nsw.gov.au/swineflu/vaccination/index.asp, or call your local Public Health Unit (www.health.nsw.gov.au/publichealth/infectious/phus.asp)
QLD: Contact your GP or call 13HEALTH (13 43 25 84)
NT: call 08 89228044 or visit www.H1N1vaccine.nt.gov.au

Source: Health Update. Reviewed 8 February 2010

Disclaimer:

  • Please note this information was correct at time of publication.
  • For up to date information, speak to your doctor.