How well do you understand the flu and each year’s new flu vaccine? Do you know how the vaccine protects you against this year’s new flu strains? Arm yourself against the 2019 flu season, and make 2019 your healthiest year yet!

Flu season is upon us, and the viruses that cause this illness are anything but predictable. "While flu causes mild illness in most people, it can cause severe and life-threatening illness in more vulnerable groups who might see their flu develop into bronchitis or pneumonia or other such complications," explains Dr Noluthando Nematswerani - Head of the Centre for Clinical Policy at Discovery Health.

 
 
 
 

Who is at high risk for flu and its complications?

Members who are 65 years or older, pregnant or members who have one of these conditions:

Asthma
Bronchiectasis
Cardiomyopathy
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Chronic renal disease
Coronary artery disease
Diabetes (Types 1 and 2)
HIV

How Discovery Health Medical Scheme covers the flu vaccine

If you have a high risk of developing complications from flu and are registered on the Chronic Illness Benefit for one of the conditions listed above, you can get the cost of one seasonal flu vaccine paid from your Screening and Prevention Benefit every year. The cost of the flu vaccine will therefore not affect your Medical Savings Account (MSA).

If you are not considered to be at higher risk, Discovery Health Medical Scheme will pay the cost of the flu vaccine from the available funds in your MSA. If your plan does not have an MSA, if your MSA funds are used up, or if you have already reached your Annual Threshold, you will have to pay the cost yourself.

 
 
 
 

Visit a Discovery Wellness Network Pharmacy

Wellness Network pharmacies that offer flu vaccines are located across the country – get your vaccine it’s quick and simple. You can also get your vaccination at clinics or at your GP. Find a provider here.

Frequently Asked Questions about the flu vaccination

In South Africa, the best time to get your flu vaccine is before the end of April, before the flu season sets in, and before the virus spreads or as soon as the vaccine becomes available. However, if you have missed this period, the vaccine can still be taken at any time during the winter season.
You may have had the flu vaccine before and think you don’t need to have it again but the strains of the flu virus vary every year. With strains and strengths of viruses changing, you should consider getting the vaccine every season to remain protected.
There are certain circumstances where a person should not have a flu vaccination. This includes people who have had a severe allergic reaction to a flu vaccination in the past and people who have a severe allergy to eggs. Children younger than six months should not have a flu vaccination. If you are unsure or have any questions, you should speak to your healthcare provider to see if you can have a flu vaccination.
Flu vaccination has been proven to be the most effective way of reducing hospital admissions related to flu complications. Flu vaccination continues to offer benefits when given at any time during the flu season but the ideal time for vaccination is before the season starts. It takes the body about two weeks to develop antibodies against the flu virus.
Side effects are usually not serious and will generally disappear on their own in a day or two. The most common side effects are mild pain, redness and swelling of the skin at the injection site. Other possible side effects include fever, feeling unwell, headaches, muscle and joint pain.
You can get your vaccination at your GP or at your pharmacy clinic or at your workplace clinic (where available). Find a provider here.
Fees for the vaccination often include the costs of the actual vaccine, and associated professional fees. For high risk members, Discovery Health Medical Scheme will pay the cost of the actual vaccine. Professional services for the administration of the vaccine – for example, the consultation and pharmacy administration fee - are paid from your available day-to-day benefits. If you do not have a Medical Savings Account or are in a Self-payment Gap, you will be responsible for paying the professional fees yourself.

Not all pharmacies charge for the administration of the flu vaccine. Please ask your pharmacist about this
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