Cowra residents opting for flu shot in increasing numbers

Pharmacist Samantha Boog administering a flu shot at Cowra's Amcal Pharmacy.
Pharmacist Samantha Boog administering a flu shot at Cowra's Amcal Pharmacy.

Demand for the flu vaccine in Cowra has reached a new level after last year’s severe outbreak of strains of the virus.

Cowra’s Amcal Chemist has already administered more of the vaccine than for the entire flu season last year with pharmacist Samantha Boog explaining that “every year the virus will change, that’s why it is important you have the shot every year”.

“This year they’ve based (the vaccine) on the four most suspected common strains expected this winter,” Ms Boog said.

Explaining away the myth that the vaccine gives some people the flu Ms Boog said those that receive the vaccine have to up an immunity to it.

“It can’t make you sick and give you the flu, it is inactivated but your body does have to build the immune response, so in building the immune response you can feel a little bit run down,” she said.

“Your body has to recognise the virus, generate the anti-bodies so then if you are exposed during winter your body has the antibodies there to fight it.

“People think that they catch the flu but in all honesty if somebody gets the flu they know it, because it is quite a lot worse than a cold.

“If you walk into a pharmacy and say ‘I’ve got the flu’, you don’t have the flu, if you’ve got the flu you’re bed bound.”

Last year in the whole of winter Cowra’s Amcal Pharmacy administered 350 vaccines.

“This year head office straight away allocated us 350 which we had used by the first week of May so we ordered another 100 and we’re down to 30 after two days and have just ordered another 50,” Ms Boog said of the demand for the vaccine.

“The more people that get the vaccine the better, because it means you can’t pass it on as well. If enough people can stop the progression of the virus, it’s all the better as sometimes it protects the people who can’t get the vaccine,” she said.

There is emerging evidence that the vaccine gives the most protection within the first three to four months after it is given. It’s important to make sure you are protected in time for when the flu is most common, from around June to September.