In light of the current Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown to commence this Friday, it is of utmost importance to get your flu vaccine.

According to Business Insider, general influenza is the cause of death of an estimated 12 000 individuals in the country each year. The South African healthcare system may be overextended over the course of the next few months. There will be limited resources available to treat patients with the flu.

It is also very possible to contract the flu, pneumonia and the corona virus as the same time. This will likely result in critical care. It will also increase the risk of transmitting three diseases at the same time to another person, for as long as you are contagious.

Stellenbosch University’s Medical Virology division head, professor Wolfgang Preiser, told Business Insider that “Should someone also get both [diseases] together, especially if they belong to one of the risk groups such as those younger than three and older than 65. It would likely cause serious illness.”

The symptoms of influenza and Covid-19 are very similar. The vaccine has a two-week ‘incubation’ period. This means that you are still vulnerable to catch the flu, until your body has created antibodies. Your healthcare practitioner will be more motivated to have you tested for COVID-19, if they know you are vaccinated for the flu and have passed the two-week mark.

Flu Vaccine availability

Flu vaccines are available at all the Mopani Pharmacy Wellness Clinics in-store. There are two vaccines currently available, namely the trivalent (three-strain) and quadrivalent (four-strain) vaccines. The three-strain protects you from the 3 most common flu strains, and the four-strain protects you from the 4 most common flu strains.

The four-strain vaccine is recommended as it offers more protection than the three-strain vaccine. However, the three-strain vaccine is a bit more affordable. We currently only have stock of the four-strain vaccine at Mopani Pharmacy, we are expecting stock of the three-strain vaccine shortly.

All four our stores will remain open during the nationwide lockdown to provide essential services. 

As per our previous article, Fight Flu – A shot in the arm, not the dark, remember the following;

People who are predisposed to medical complications whilst they have  influenza (and are recommended to get vaccinated)

  • Pregnant women
  • Infants younger than two
  • The elderly
  • Healthcare workers
  • Morbidly obese / underweight persons
  • Those with pre-existing medical conditions

No, the vaccine cannot give you the flu

  • Inactivated flu viruses are used to create the vaccines. There are cases where people get the flu even if they have gotten their shot, but some factors that needs to be taken into consideration.
  • You may have been exposed to the flu right before or after you got the shot, therefore it did not have time to work yet
  • You may have gotten a strain that is not common and therefore not covered in the vaccine

Read the original Business Insider article here