Tag Archives: immunisation

Flu shot clinics coming soon

20 Mar

As summer fades and glorious autumn weather surrounds us, it’s time to think of the chills and ills of winter.

Whilst there isn’t much you can do to prevent coughs and colds – except eat well, get enough sleep and exercise and stay away from sick people – you can do something to prevent the much nastier illness of influenza (or “flu”)

In particular, flu vaccinations are a useful and reasonably effective (but not foolproof) protection against flu.

Flu shots are strongly recommended for

– everyone over the age of 65

– those with chronic illnesses (like asthma, lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease etc)

– those working with people who are at high risk of complications (such as nursing home patients, hospital and healthcare workers etc)

Other adults should consider getting a flu shot particularly if spending a week or more knocked around badly by a virus is something you’d like to avoid.

Flu shots are free to those who are over the age of 65 and those with chronic illness. For other patients we are able to offer vaccination for the price of $12. If you attend one of our flu-shot clinics, the visit will be bulk-billed.

Our clinics will be held:

Wednesday April 15th    9:00 am – 12:00 noon

Saturday     April 18th     1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Tuesday      April 21st     2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Thursday     April 23rd    6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

If you would like to be seen at one of these clinics, please make an appointment with reception (Phone 9780 8900).

Please note these flu clinics will be short visits, only to provide a flu shot, and no other issues will be able to be addressed.

(A separate clinic will be held at Peppertree Hill and Waterford Valley retirement villages. Date to be announced shortly.)

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Mother and child

28 Oct

We all know:
– that vaccines are very effective (but nothing is perfect) at preventing nasty – even fatal – diseases in childhood;
– that vaccination for kids starts at 2 months of age; and that therefore
– there is a gap in protecting children between birth and their first vaccination at 6-8 weeks of age.

We also know that this is the age group that suffers the most severe disease if they do contract an infection like pertussis (whooping cough).

So how to best prevent newborns from getting infected?

New research from England shows that immunising mothers during pregnancy against whooping cough will decrease the chances of the baby getting whooping cough by around 70%. That’s a great decrease in infection risk, and prevents an incredibly distressing illness. Even if not fatal, whooping cough can make a child very sick (see this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3oZrMGDMMw)

If you are planning to get pregnant, come and see us a few months before you start trying. There’s lots to talk about!

Never too late

25 Jun

Medical knowledge changes so much that we need every now and then to revisit even the most basic assumptions. One of the central tenets of medicine is that vaccination is a good idea because it helps prevent diseases. But is that actually true? Perhaps increased focus on infection control is enough to prevent people getting sick. How effective are vaccines?

Turns out – pretty effective. A Canadian study (looking at the 2010-11 flu vaccine in their Northern winter) of patients over the age of 65 showed that being vaccinated decreased the risk of being hospitilised due to flu by over 40%. Obviously not everyone over 65 will get the flu, even if not immunised. But the consequences of flu can be very severe, particularly in older patients. A 40% decrease shows that the flu vaccine has major benefit.

Whilst it’s best to get flu vaccine as early as possible in the season, it’s not too late to do so. The peak time for flu infection is actually July – September, so vaccination now is still well worthwhile. Vaccines are free for patients over 65 or with a chronic illness, so please contact the clinic for an appointment if you are interested.

Needles flying everywhere Part 2

22 Feb

Gardasil has been one of the great immunisation success stories of the past decade. The vaccine, which prevents HPV (human papilloma virus = wart virus) is given to teenage girls and decreases their risk of developing genital warts in general and decreases the risk of cancer of the cervix. Whilst it doesn’t completely eliminate the need for pap smears or provide 100% protection, it’s certainly quite effective.

Now Gardasil is available to boys. Wart virus can certainly affect both sexes and HPV can also cause cancer in men, particularly cancer of the penis and in some cases cancer of the anus. Boys who contract HPV can also transmit it to their partners, increasing the risk that they will develop disease or cancer.

The national Gardasil program for boys is being rolled out over the next two years.

In 2013 and 2014 all boys in Year 7 AND Year 9 will be offered the vaccine. (Boys in Year 8 this year will get next year in year 9.)  After that it will just be available to boys in Year 7. 

Unfortunately there is no government funded catchup program for boys already in Year 10 and beyond, though we can arrange private stock.

The vaccine involves three injections over a six month period. Whilst it can be given at school, we have vaccines available at the surgery and therefore we are able to administer the vaccine here if you prefer. Please discuss with reception and make an appointment.

 

Needles flying everywhere Part 1

22 Feb

Lots of needle news coming out this week.

First – flu vaccines have arrived.  Here are the recommendations:

You SHOULD get a vaccine if:

– you are over 65

– you have a chronic disease like diabetes, kidney problems or heart disease

– you have any ongoing lung problems like asthma, bronchitis or emphysema

– you have lowered immunity (eg you use immunosuppresant medication or cortisone)

– you have a chronic neurological problem like epilepsy or MS

– you are pregnant (This is really important. Lots of evidence that both pregnant women who get the flu AND their babies do badly compared to immunised women)

 

You should THINK about the flu vaccine if

– you work with lots of members of the public

– you have a family member who belongs to any of the groups above

– you work with people who would suffer badly from the flu eg sick or elderly people

– you would find it unacceptable to risk catching flu because it may involve a week off work or home duties

 

Flu shots are available free of charge to patients in the SHOULD group.

For other patients, we have vaccines in stock. Patients on health care cards will find it cheaper to buy a vaccine on script.

We are holding a flu-clinic at Waterford and Peppertree Hill villages on March 17th, for the residents. We may also be holding flu clinics for all our patients at the surgery – please call to find out the availability, or just see your doctor for a shot.

 

 

Who should shoot?

14 Jan

There is a bit debate going on in the medical press at present over moves by pharmacists to adminster vaccines and immunisations. The AMA has released a position paper saying they think pharmacists should be trained before giving vaccines – but even if trained, they don’t support it! The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia have drawn up their own guidelines and standards which they think will adequately protect patients.

Our view is that it is in patients’ interests to be immunised by a doctor. Here is why:

1 – If we don’t do the shot, we don’t record the shot. And 3 years later you don’t remember exactly which injection was given or when a booster is due. If a batch is later declared suspect – we record the batch number and can contact our patients list….but only if we have the information.

2 – Most pharmacies have inadequate privacy for administering injections.

3 – And if they do have a screened area or a private room, where does the patient (our term) or customer (their term) sit under observation for the next ten minutes.

4 – Most pharmacies do not have adequate resucitation equipment or training. Whilst serious reactions to vaccinations are rare, they certainly occur. We believe every immuniser needs access to a bed to lie on, oxygen, adrenaline, IV fluids and cannulas. We are not aware of any pharmacy that can offer those safety features.

We hope this doesn’t sound like an attack on chemists. Pharmacies provide great service to patients and we have an excellent relationship with all the chemists in our area. But our belief is that when things go wrong, a vaccination should be done in a medical clinic – and you don’t know that things will go wrong till they have.