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Why it’s still important to get your flu vaccine during the COVID-19 outbreak

Posted By Marilynh / April 22, 2020 / 14 Comments

The flu vaccine won’t prevent you from catching the Coronavirus, but there are some very good reasons to book an appointment for this season’s flu shot

 

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The spread of the novel Coronavirus, or the COVID-19 virus, has become a serious health concern in South Africa, with the number of infections in the country rising daily.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has been very clear: no existing vaccine will protect you against the COVID-19 virus. “The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine,” states the WHO’s ‘Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public’.

Scientists around the world are currently working to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus, but even if they achieve their goal very soon, it could take up to 18 months before it becomes widely available. Until then, the WHO highly recommends getting vaccinated against viral respiratory illnesses, such as the flu.

 

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Here are the reasons you shouldn’t skip your 2020 flu shot in light of the coronavirus outbreak in South Africa. 

 

It’s less likely that you’ll confuse flu symptoms with Coronavirus symptoms

As the Southern Hemisphere heads towards winter, we’re also getting closer to flu season, which typically falls between April and September every year. Because some of the symptoms of the coronavirus overlap with those of influenza virus, many people who catch the flu will now worry that they have the COVID-19 virus.

The most common coronavirus symptoms are fever, tiredness and a dry cough. Some but not all infected people may experience aches and pains, nasal congestion, a runny nose, a sore throat or diarrhoea.

Since you are much less likely to catch the flu if you are up to date with your flu vaccine, you’re also less likely to mistake the coronavirus for the flu.

“If you were vaccinated against the flu last year, it’s essential to get vaccinated again this year,” says Clicks pharmacist Waheed Abdurahman. This is because the strains of flu that circulate differ every year, leaving you at risk all over again.

 

It reduces the burden on the health system

As more and more cases of the coronavirus are confirmed in South Africa every day, so the challenges facing our health system mount. While most otherwise healthy people who contract the COVID-19 virus will recover without specialised medical treatment, a small percentage with underlying health conditions will become very sick and need treatment in hospital.

Because the rise in coronavirus cases looks likely to coincide with the annual flu season in the coming months, hospitals, general practitioners and test facilities are likely to take enormous strain. Getting your flu vaccine could help to reduce that strain and free up valuable resources needed to beat the coronavirus and reduce fatalities.

 

It’s one less virus for your immune system to fight off

While practising social distancing and following recommended precautions are the surest ways to prevent infection by the Coronavirus, it also makes sense to decrease the number of threats your immune system has to fend off.

Vaccination is especially important for people at higher risk of serious flu complications, including:

  • Pregnant women
  • Children aged six months to five years
  • People over the age of 65
  • People with chronic medical conditions
  • Healthcare workers.

Getting a flu shot does not guarantee protection against the flu. But, people who get a flu vaccine are less likely to get sick with flu than people who don’t.

 

The flu vaccine is now available at over 400 Clicks Pharmacies nationwide.
Vaccinations are subject to stock availability.

 

If you suspect you might have the COVID-19 virus, call your healthcare provider. Calling ahead prevents you from spreading – or being the infected by – the Coronavirus and allows your healthcare provider to direct you to the right facility.

Call the Department of Health’s 24-hour coronavirus hotline: 0800 029 999

 

 

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Comments

14 Comments

  • Mrs Diedericks
    April 16, 2020 at 8:44 am

    Does Clicks in Belhar W.C.have the flu injection

    • Marilynh
      April 16, 2020 at 12:09 pm

      Dear Mrs Diedericks

      Thank you for your query. We would imagine that they do. Probably best to phone them first and check.

      Kind regards
      YEI

  • Patricia Hendey
    April 22, 2020 at 5:15 pm

    What about vaccination against pneumonia for senior citizens ie persons >65 years?

    • Marilynh
      April 23, 2020 at 8:34 am

      Dear Patricia

      Our advice would be to get your Doctor’s opinion on this. However, we will ask Clicks and should we get a response, we will publish it in this forum.

      Regards, YEI

  • ann pazzi
    April 22, 2020 at 6:04 pm

    I have tried at several stores, Clicks, Dis-chem, and my Doctors office, and no-one has the flu shots. They say, they did not receive any, as very few were sent to South Africa!

    • Marilynh
      April 23, 2020 at 8:26 am

      Dear Ann – thank you for your message. We will ask Clicks for an update on the flu vaccine. We will publish the response in this forum.

      Regards, YEI

  • Sue Jochum
    April 22, 2020 at 10:24 pm

    I was in hospital in isolation for 10 weeks in Nov 2019. I had pulmonary emboli in both lungs…Due to medical negligance while I was in hospital I had 4 major surgeries.& sepsis…..I was again hospitalised in Feb 2020..My immune system is completely down..I take Life Gain & Vit C 1000mg daily & I am still struggling with flu symptoms…I use over the counter meds…
    Since March 2020
    MY DOCTOR SAID I MUST GET THE FLU VACINE & THE ONE FOR MY LUNGS GIVEN EVERY 5YRS..
    SINCE MARCH 2020 I HAVE TRIED VARIOUS PHARMACIES TO GET A FLU VACINNE…NO LUCK…ALL SOLD OUT.!!…SOME PHARMACIES SAY THEY MIGHT NOT BE RECEIVING ANY.! WHAT MORE CAN I DO?

    • Marilynh
      April 23, 2020 at 8:21 am

      Dear Sue

      Thank you for your message. We are sending this to Clicks and should we receive a response, we will put it up in this forum and email you direct.

      Regards
      YEI

  • Llewellyn Krog
    April 23, 2020 at 6:44 am

    What does Clicks charge Pensioners for the Flu injection

    • Marilynh
      April 23, 2020 at 8:16 am

      Dear Llewellyn

      We will send your query to Clicks and will ask for a response, which will be published in this forum once we have received it.

      Kind regards
      YEI

  • Anne Greening
    April 25, 2020 at 2:58 pm

    I asked for the flu vaccine yesterday (24th April) at Clicks, and was told that it was out of stock, and not available anywhere in the Country.

    • Angela Watkins
      May 4, 2020 at 1:22 pm

      We have had reports of this happening at several clinics/pharmacies etc countrywide. We suggest you keep trying your local to find out when they have stock again. Regards YEI

  • Bev
    April 26, 2020 at 3:47 pm

    If one cannot find 4 strain flu vaccine would 3 strain suffice

    • Angela Watkins
      May 4, 2020 at 1:16 pm

      Dear Bev, it would be advisable to contact you Doctors offices to answer this query. Regards YEI

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