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DID YOU KNOW?Back to top
- The elderly (>65 years) and young children (particularly <2 years of age) are at high risk for severe flu.2
- If you have a chronic illness (e.g. Cardiac disease/Diabetes/HIV/TB) or a weak immune system, you are at high risk for complications from flu.2
- The flu can trigger cardiovascular complications and causes the deaths of over 11 000 people in South Africa every year
- Changes in the immune system, heart, and lungs during pregnancy make pregnant woman more prone to severe illness from flu, including illness resulting in hospitalisation.4
- With the COVID-19 pandemic placing pressure on our healthcare systems, it is more important than ever to get vaccinated.5
WHY SHOULD YOU GET VACCINATED FOR FLU?Back to top
Flu is more severe than we may think. Each year it causes:
Over 11,000 deaths in South Africa2
- SEVERE ILLNESS
Over 47,000 South Africans get seriously sick2
Almost 50% of South Africans who get seriously sick from flu, need to be admitted to hospital2
DO I STILL NEED A FLU VACCINE IF I’VE HAD THE COVID-19 VACCINE?Back to top
Yes! The flu vaccine protects against infection from influenza viruses, while COVID-19 vaccines protect against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.6
Vaccinate against flu to: 7
- Reduce illness from flu
- Reduce the need to visit the doctor
- Reduce the severity of illness in people who get vaccinated but still get sick
- Reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization
- Reduce the risk of hospitalisation in pregnant women
- Protect people around you who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people, and people with certain chronic health conditions.
As per current guidelines, the flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine should be given at least 14 days apart, in no particular order.* Guidelines are subject to change, please check with your healthcare provider
MYTHSBack to top
Myth: I don’t have to get the flu vaccine every year.
Fact: Flu viruses change constantly. The flu vaccine is updated annually to protect against the viruses that are expected to be most common during each flu season9
Flu vaccines only work in our bodies for a certain amount of time. For both these reasons you must be vaccinated every year.9,10
Myth: I got the flu vaccine and still got sick so it does not work.
Fact: The vaccine contains inactive viruses so it cannot make you sick. Sometimes you might get other viruses that are circulating that could be mistaken for flu.8
Myth: I am pregnant, so it is not safe for me to get the flu vaccine.
Fact: Pregnant women are at high risk for developing complicated flu. The flu vaccine can be used at any stage of pregnancy and protects the baby against flu infection for several months after it is born.2,8
More information on FLU IN YOUNG CHILDREN
THE FLU VACCINE IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO PROTECT YOURSELF, YOUR FAMILY AND YOUR COMMUNITY AGAINST FLU!2,3
ASK YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER ABOUT THE FLU VACCINE.
- Blumberg L, Cohen C, Dawood H, et al. Influenza NICD Recommendations for the diagnosis, prevention, management and public health response. Available at: https:// www.nicd.ac.za/ wp-content/ uploads/2021/04/INFLUENZAGUIDELINES-2021.pdf.
- Warren-Gash C, Blackburn R, Whitaker H, et al. Laboratory-confirmed respiratoryinfections as triggers for acute myocardial infarction and stroke: a self-controlled case series analysis of national linked datasets from Scotland. Eur Respir J. 2018;51(3):1-9.
- World Health Organization. Guiding principles for immunization activities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- https://www.nicd.ac.za/the-covid-19-vaccine-andthe-flu-vaccine/. AccessedSeptember 2021
- https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/vaccine-benefits.htm/ Accessed Jan 2022
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Misconceptions about seasonal flu and flu vaccines.
- World Health Organization. Influenza (Seasonal). Available from: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/ detail/Influenza-(seasonal). Last accessed October 2020.
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Cold or Flu
IS IT A COLD OR IS IT FLU? The common cold and flu are both respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. Influenza (flu) is caused by influenza viruses which circulate in all parts of the world. Colds and flu share many similar symptoms, so it can be difficult to tell the difference…