Common Questions

(and excuses for not getting a Flu Injection)

  • What is Influenza (Flu)?Flu is caused by different strains of flu viruses. Symptoms may vary with age, immune status and health of the individual, and include fever, sore throat, muscle aches, headache, cough and severe fatigue. The fever and body aches can last 3-5 days and the cough and fatigue may last two or more weeks.
  • I can’t be bothered...
    • Of the approximately 26% of the population that were infected with influenza… Around 80% (or 4 out of 5 people) infected with ‘flu’ show no symptoms ~ but you can still spread/transmit the flu among your family, friends and co-workers. They won’t thank you for it!
    • Healthy adults with flu (even asymptomatic) are infectious for up to 5 days, and children for up to 2 weeks
    • Flu can kill. Our most vulnerable groups within our population are our children, pregnant women, the immunocompromised, and the over 65’s
    • Think of the big picture when considering the flu vaccine. Your workmate may have a pregnant partner or baby at home. Or, that person beside you in the supermarket may be having chemo for cancer and you just sneezed/sprayed your flu bugs that you didn’tknow you had.
  • I’m too healthy
    • A serious illness caused by flu leads to hospitalisation and can cause death at any age.
    • Young people with chronic illnesses such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease are more at risk of complications from flu.
    • Do you work out? How good is the product that your gym cleans the machines/gear with? Do they even get cleaned? What about the handles on the trolleys in the supermarket? Do you wear a face mask 24/7? How regularly do you wash your hands?
    • Are you working in an air conditioned environment?
    • Eating healthily and working out won’t stop you from being infected with flu
  • I never get sick
    • As above - you may not have symptoms but you can still be transmitting or spreading the virus to those around you
    • Never knowingly had flu in the past, doesn’t mean you won’t or can’t get it
    • What is your ethnicity? Pacific people have higher hospitalisation rates for severe flu-related infections than Maori. Both Pacific and Maori have higher rates than Asian, European and other ethnicities
  • Can the vaccine give me the flu?
    • No! These vaccines are made from the flu viruses that have been concentrated, inactivated and then broken apart. No part of the vaccine is ‘live’.
    • When vaccinated, the body responds by producing an immune response, which can include fever, headache, muscle aches or fatigue. This can sometimes be mistaken as ‘flu’.
    • Other respiratory viruses and bacteria circulate during winter and the flu vaccine does not protect against those.
    • Immunisation is the best protection against flu. Even if you did still catch flu after immunisation, your symptoms are less likely to be severe.
    • The immunisation takes between 4 days and 2 weeks to give you maximum protection, if you have already been exposed to the flu prior to your vaccine, you may still develop symptoms.

  • Never had one before, why should I start now?
    • Having a flu vaccine each year can keep older people healthy and active for longer
    • Flu vaccines significantly lower hospitalisation rates for patients with Type 2 diabetes having a stroke, heart failure, pneumonia and/or flu
    • Obesity has been associated with severe flu and flu related respiratory hospitalisations in adults aged 45 years and over
    • Flu vaccination can prevent cardiovascular disease, and reduce the risk of major events such as Heart Attack (myocardial infarction) and Stroke
    • The flu vaccine is as effective, if not more effective in some cases, in reducing cardiovascular events, such as giving up smoking, taking blood pressure lowering meds or cholesterol lowering meds - that’s massive!