FAQ

What is the flu?

The flu (influenza) is caused by a viral infection that is easily spread from person to person.

The flu is a serious condition, and complications arising from the flu can be debilitating and potentially life threatening. Symptoms of the flu include fever, muscle and joint pains, chills, sore throat and headaches. These symptoms can last 1-2 weeks.
 

Why should I get vaccinated?

Your best protection against the flu is to get vaccinated. Getting a Flu Shot early in the year, between March and May, before the height of flu season can result in a drastically reduced risk of becoming infected and spreading the virus to others.
 

Which influenza vaccine are you offering?

Chemist Warehouse is offering the quadrivalent vaccine for administration as part of the 2017 flu vaccination program. The quadrivalent vaccine is designed to protect against four different flu viruses; two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses.
 

Do I need to pay before receiving my vaccination (my scheduled booking)?

Yes. In order to receive a confirmation and secure your booking, payment with a credit card must be made. If you don’t have a credit card then simply visit your nearest participating store (in person) to pay by cash or EFTPOS.
 

How do I cancel my booking?

If for any reason you are unable to attend your designated flu shot appointment, your booking is able to be changed or cancelled. If you are cancelling a booking more than 24 hours prior to the appointment, you can log into the Chemist Warehouse Flu Shot website using your email address and password. After logging in, click on “cancel” next to the booking you wish to cancel and after confirming, your appointment will be cancelled and a full refund supplied (please allow up to 5 business days for the refund to be processed). The login icon is located in the top right hand corner of the Chemist Warehouse Flu Shot homepage. If you cannot remember your password or didn’t save your profile, click the “Forgotten Password” link in the log in box and enter the email used to make the booking and a reset link will be sent to your email.

Should you wish to cancel a booking less than 24 hours prior to your appointment, you need to contact the store in which your vaccination was to be provided and they can cancel your booking over the phone. No refund will be provided in cancellations made less than 24 hours prior to the scheduled appointment.
 

How do I change my booking time?

If for any reason you are unable to attend your designated flu shot appointment, your booking is able to be changed or cancelled. If you are changing a booking more than 24 hours prior to the appointment, you can log into the Chemist Warehouse Flu Shot website using your email address and password. After logging in, click on “edit” next to the booking you wish to change and use the drop down menus provided to change the date and time of your booking. A confirmation email will be sent to your nominated email account after changing your booking. The login icon is located in the top right hand corner of the Chemist Warehouse Flu Shot homepage. If you cannot remember your password or didn’t save your profile, click the “Forgotten Password” link in the log in box and enter the email used to make the booking and a reset link will be sent to your email.

Should you want change a booking less than 24 hours prior to your appointment, you need to contact the store in which your vaccination was to be provided and they can change your booking over the phone. 
 

What do I do if I miss my booking?

If you miss your flu shot appointment for any given reason, you can contact the store in which your vaccination was to be provided within 24 hours and they can attempt to reschedule your booking over the phone. Rescheduling missed appointments is subject to booking availability and should an alternative time slot not be available, refunds will not be provided for missed appointments.
 

What happens if I don’t have a valid Medicare card?

Bookings in certain stores may require a valid Medicare card according to state or territory legislative requirements. You will be prompted when making a booking if a Medicare card is required at the store you have chosen. If required, the Medicare card number needs to be provided at the time of booking. In addition, the Medicare card must be brought to the appointment. If you are making a booking at a store that requires a Medicare card, but you do not have a Medicare card, the booking page contains a link to take you to a booking page for patients without a Medicare card. An additional fee of $10 will apply for these bookings.
 

What is Vaccination?

Vaccination is when you are administered a vaccine, normally by an injection. Being vaccinated causes your body’s natural defence mechanism – your immune system – to build up a resistance to that specific bug you are being vaccinated for, “immunising” you and protecting you from future infection.
The flu vaccine uses inactive components of the virus to protect you from the flu without you actually contracting the illness.
 

What are symptoms of the flu?

The flu (influenza) is a highly contagious illness which is caused by the influenza virus. After the virus enters the body, it readily infects the respiratory tract. There are a number of different forms that the flu may take due to its constantly changing nature, so people are not normally able to defend themselves against the flu without appropriate vaccination.
Symptoms of the flu can include:
  • High fever, chills and sweating
  • Sore throat
  • Weakness and general muscle/ joint pains (normally in the legs and back)
  • Headaches
  • Dry cough, that can later become chesty and productive (mucous is coughed up).
  • Generally feeling unwell

How is the flu different to a cold?

While the flu and a cold have some overlapping symptoms, they are different in terms of both symptom severity and duration. A cold usually has more nasal symptoms which can last a few days, whereas the flu can last up to 2 weeks and tends to cause higher fever, muscle pains and shivering. Serious complications can occur from the flu, particularly in children, the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions (i.e. people with lowered immunity, certain heart conditions etc.), and this tends to be why it is a more serious concern than just a bad cold.
 

How do you catch the flu?

The flu is spread from person to person very easily by airborne fluids when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can then infect someone through their eyes, nose or mouth. Surfaces (i.e. table tops, door handles, pens, cups etc.) can become contaminated by these fluids, and when someone comes into direct contact with these surfaces and touches their eyes, nose or mouth they may become infected with the flu.
 

Is the flu preventable?

There are a range of preventative measures you can take to minimize the likelihood of getting the flu. The best thing you can do is to get vaccinated each year. You should also ensure that hands are washed thoroughly and regularly, along with frequent use of hand sanitiser to reduce the spread of the flu. For the ideal hand washing and hand sanitiser practices, see the World Health Organisation’s procedure here. Given how a person can contract the flu so readily, the importance of the flu vaccination in prevention of illness is quite clear!
 

Why is getting vaccinated/immunised so important?

Immunisation not only protects you against potentially suffering from the flu (and the potential serious complications associated with that), but it also protects those around you. Being fully immunised prevents you potentially transmitting the flu to your loved ones and anyone who you may come into contact with, resulting in a healthier community. The more people who are vaccinated in the general public the lower the risk of infection to those who either cannot be immunised (due to illness or allergy) or are at higher risk of complications from contracting the flu. Having your flu shot not only is not a good thing for you, but for everyone!
 

Who should get vaccinated?

All healthy people should be vaccinated where possible to allow for the healthiest possible community, however, there are certain groups of people for whom the yearly flu vaccine is most important. People who may fall into these "high risk" groups include:
  • Pregnant women (at any stage)
  • Individuals who experience extreme asthma (requiring regular hospital visits)
  • Children on long-term aspirin therapy
  • Medical staff (such as doctors, nurses, surgeons and midwives)
  • Staff in long-term care facilities (such as nursing homes)
  • Individuals who are homeless
  • Carers of the homeless
  • Individuals aged 6 months and over, and with a pre-existing medical condition
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders aged 15 years and over
  • Non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders aged 65 years and over
  • Individuals living with those aged 65 years and over
These patients may be eligible for a free flu vaccination under the National Immunsation Program (NIP) (see below). If you are unsure about your eligibility for this benefit, contact your GP.
 

Who is entitled to receive a free flu vaccine under the National Immunisation Program (NIP) in 2017 from their GP or alternative immunisation provider?

  • People aged 65 years and over
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait people aged six months to less than five years
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are aged 15 years and over
  • Pregnant women
  • People aged six months and over with medical conditions that can lead to complications from influenza such as people who
     - have heart disease; or
     - have lung disease or asthma; or
     - have another chronic illness, including diabetes and renal failure; or
     - have chronic neurological condition, including multiple sclerosis and seizure disorders; or
     - have an immune compromising condition, including HIV infection; or  - o are aged five to 10 years and are receiving long-term aspirin therapy or are pregnant
If you meet any of the above criteria, please speak with your doctor or pharmacist about vaccination under the National Immunisation Program.

When is flu vaccination not appropriate?

For certain patients, vaccination may not be appropriate unless they have discussed it with their GP or specialist. People who this might apply to include;
  • Patients who currently have an illness resulting in a fever greater than or equal to 38.5oC
  • People with a lowered immunity caused by either a medical condition or medical treatment.
  • People who have had a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis following a previous dose of the vaccine in question, or to a component of the vaccine.
  • Patient with a history of Guillian Barré syndrome
  • Patient with a bleeding disorder
  • Patients with severe chronic diseases
If you are in any way unsure as to whether or not the flu vaccine is appropriate for you, it is always best to check with your GP before receiving the flu vaccine.
 

Is the Chemist Warehouse Flu Shot appropriate for me?

The Chemist Warehouse flu vaccination service is for adults over 18 years old only. If you are over 18 and do not have any of the conditions below on the date of your appointment, then it is likely that the flu shot will be appropriate for you. You will be assessed by your immuniser as to whether the flu shot is appropriate for you on your appointment date.

Flu vaccination may not be appropriate for:
  • Patients who currently have an illness resulting in a fever greater than or equal to 38.5"C
  • People with a lowered immunity caused by either a medical condition or medical treatment.
  • People who have had a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis following a previous dose of the vaccine in question, or to a component of the vaccine.
  • Patients with a history of Guillian Barré syndrome
  • Patients with a bleeding disorder
  • Patients with severe chronic diseases
If you are in any way unsure as to whether or not the flu vaccine is appropriate for you, it is always best to check with your GP before receiving the flu vaccine.
 

Are There Any Health Hazards Associated With The Flu Vaccination If I Am Pregnant?

The flu vaccination is perfectly safe for both mother-to-be and baby. In fact, it is highly recommended that pregnant women are immunised against the flu in any trimester. Similarly, there are no health hazards for mothers or children who are breast-feeding.
 

What do I need to bring when I come in for my vaccination? Do I get anything afterwards?

When you come in for your vaccination, you may need to bring the Medicare card for all patients who will be receiving the vaccine that day who wish to have the service subsidised under Medicare. You will be prompted at the time of booking if a Medicare card is required at the store you have selected. Should you not have a current Medicare card at a store where Medicare is required; an additional charge of $10.00 will be required.
 

Do I get anything afterwards?

After your vaccination, you will be provided with a statement of vaccination which includes:
  • your full name and date of birth
  • the details of the vaccine given, including the brand name, batch number and dose number
  • the date and time of vaccination
  • the site of administration
  • the name of the person providing the vaccination
  • the date the next vaccination is due.
You will also receive an information leaflet listing common side effects and signs of more serious reactions to be vigilant for.  

How long will the appointment take?

We ask that you arrive 10-15 minutes prior to your booking time to allow for registration and screening.
Following your vaccination, you will be asked to stay in the immediate area of the clinic for 15 minutes to observe for any adverse reaction to the injection. After that, your vaccination process is complete.
 

I got vaccinated last year; do I need to get the flu vaccine again this year?

The flu virus is capable of changing form at a very rapid rate, resulting in different strains circulating in the community each flu season. The influenza virus changes from year-to-year, and any previous flu shot may no longer be effective. Each year the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends which strain of the flu virus Australians should be immunized against to best protect themselves. These strains are included in the vaccines provided at the Chemist Warehouse clinics. Furthermore, your immunity against the flu decreases over time. For these reasons it is important to be vaccinated against the new strains each year.
 

How effective is the flu vaccine?

The effectiveness of the influenza vaccine can depend on a number of factors. These include: age, existing medical conditions as well as the similarity between the virus strains included in the vaccine with those circulating in the community. Getting vaccinated is the most effective way to prevent contracting the flu, however it is not a guarantee that you will not be infected.
 

Am I protected from the flu straight after being vaccinated?

Your immune system takes time to actively defend against the flu, and it may take up to 3 weeks to reach maximum protection. This protection normally continues through for a full year. This is why the best time to be vaccinated is in March to early May to allow for full protection during peak flu season (July-Sept).
 

Are there side effects of the flu vaccine?

While there are side effects associated with flu vaccination, most are very mild and short term (normally lasting no more than 48 hours). In children under five years of age these side effects may be more noticeable. They may include:
  • Drowsiness or tiredness
  • Muscle aches
  • Localised pain, redness and swelling at the injection site
  • Occasionally, an injection-site lump (nodule) that may last many weeks but needs no treatment
  • Low-grade temperature (fever)
  • While routine paracetamol is not recommended after every vaccination, it can be used if a fever develops
Very rarely more serious side effects can occur, however these tend to be allergic (anaphylactic) reactions to components in the vaccine.

Should you be concerned that your side effects are persisting for too long, are more severe or are concerning you, be sure to contact your GP, go to your nearest hospital emergency room or, if required, call 000.
Should you have any further questions, make sure you contact one of the following before you get the flu vaccine:
  • Your doctor
  • Your local pharmacist
  • Emergency department of your nearest hospital
  • Your local government immunisation service
  • Maternal and Child Health Line (24 hours) Tel. 132 229
  • NURSE-ON-CALL Tel. 1300 60 60 24 – for expert health information and advice (24 hours, 7 days)
  • Immunisation Program, Department of Health, Victorian Government Tel. 1300 882 008
  • National Immunisation Information Line Tel. 1800 671 811
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