/ Impfservice 9 Influenza (flu)

Where can I get an influenza vaccination for the 2023/2024 season?

The public influenza vaccination programme for the 2023/2024 season is organised by the Austrian Public Health Insurance Fund (Österreichische Gesundheitskasse, ÖGK). For more information, consult the ÖGK website (German) or call the influenza vaccination hotline (+43 5 0766-501510).
https://www.aekwien.at/impfordinationen (German), a website of the Vienna Medical Chamber, provides an overview of doctor’s surgeries offering vaccinations.

What is the duration of the influenza vaccination campaign?

Please consult the ÖGK website (Österreichische Gesundheitskasse, Austrian Public Health Insurance Fund) for information about the duration of the nationwide public vaccination programme.

How much do I have to pay for the influenza vaccination?

The influenza vaccination requires payment of a cost contribution of € 7.00.
The following persons are exempted from payment:

  • persons exempted from paying prescription fees
  • children and young people up to their 18th birthday
  • persons getting vaccinated against influenza as part of a company-wide vaccination campaign if that company participates in the public influenza vaccination programme.

Information for doctors

Doctors with surgeries in Vienna receive further information about this year’s influenza vaccination programme via the Austrian Public Health Insurance Fund (Österreichische Gesundheitskasse, ÖGK).

What documents should be brought along to the vaccination appointment?

  • e-card (if available)
  • Certificate of Vaccination (if available)
  • Photo ID
  • Filled-in vaccination form with current data – you can download the form when making an appointment online (alternatively, you can simply ask for a form on-site)

What is influenza (flu)?

Influenza (flu) is a viral illness. It often starts with sudden high fever, coughing, pain in the muscles and/or limbs, headache and general fatigue. It may cause a worsening of pre-existing chronic conditions, such as asthma or heart diseases, above all in persons with a weak immune system or elderly persons. Further complications that may occur include pneumonia or myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle). These illnesses can even result in death.

It is important to distinguish between genuine influenza and a common cold. Normally, the fever that accompanies a common cold is not as high and the illness passes more easily and quickly.

Genuine influenza can be treated within a period of 48 hours with special medication that keeps the influenza virus from spreading. This therapy prevents that the illness will take a severe course but cannot prevent the illness itself.

The influenza virus is transmitted via droplet infection, mainly when coughing or sneezing, but can also be passed on via the hands. It only takes a few days from the moment of infection for symptoms to appear.

What are the differences between influenza (flu) and a common cold?

The overview given below juxtaposes the characteristics of a common cold with those of seasonal influenza. However, this table is merely to provide some general information; only a doctor can diagnose you with certainty.

Common cold (flu-like infection) Seasonal influenza (flu)
First symptoms Typically gradual with chills and shivers, a runny nose and sore throat Sudden high fever accompanied by dry cough, a runny nose, headache, pain in the muscles and/or limbs as well as a strong general feeling of being unwell,
Body temperature Often just slight fever or no fever at all Typically 38-41°C
Pathogen Usually different viruses (>200) including rhinovirus, coronavirus, adenovirus, parainfluenza virus and respiratory syncytial virus Different types of influenza A and B virus
Occurrence Year round, chiefly during the cold months During the winter months, especially from December to April
Complications Rare Mainly pneumonia, very frequent in patients with pre-existing conditions; may result in death
Vaccination No Yes, annually before the influenza season
Routes of transmission Mainly droplet infection (caused by speaking, coughing, sneezing) but also via contaminated objects (such as door handles) Mainly droplet infection (caused by speaking, coughing, sneezing) but also via contaminated objects (such as door handles)
Treatment of straightforward cases (no complications) Treatment of symptoms Treatment of symptoms
possibly antiviral medication

What is the minimum age for getting an influenza vaccination?

All persons from 6 months of age who live, study or work in Vienna can get a vaccination. Please note that children under the age of 14 years can only be vaccinated if accompanied by a parent or legal guardian or must bring a declaration of consent signed by a parent or legal guardian along to the vaccination appointment.

For which groups of persons is an influenza vaccination particularly recommended?

  • Children from 6 months of age
  • Persons suffering from chronic conditions, in particular diabetes, cardiovascular or pulmonary diseases
  • Heavily overweight/obese persons
  • Persons whose immune system is compromised due to illness or medication
  • Persons aged 60 years or older
  • Persons working in the healthcare and nursing sector
  • Persons working or attending/living in community facilities (e.g. daycare nurseries, kindergartens, schools, social facilities, retirement and nursing homes, etc.), social workers
  • Breastfeeding women and persons in contact with newborns
  • Pregnant women and women planning a pregnancy during the influenza season
  • Persons with frequent interpersonal contacts (e.g. workers in tourism businesses, restaurants and cafés, shop assistants, hairdressers, beauty salon workers, etc.)
  • Travellers (for protection during the journey and at the destination – it is recommended to get vaccinated not later than 2 weeks before travelling)

Why is the influenza vaccination recommended for pregnant women?

Pregnant women run a high risk of contracting influenza. Therefore, it is recommended that they get an influenza vaccination for their own protection and for the protection of their unborn child both before and during the influenza season. During the second and third trimester, an influenza vaccination is urgently recommended. second and third trimester, an influenza vaccination is urgently recommended.

What about the combined influenza/COVID-19 vaccination?

According to the recommendations for the administration of COVID-19 vaccinations issued by the National Vaccination Board (Nationales Impfgremium, NIG) (version 5.2 of 15 October 2021), the administration of COVID-19 vaccines simultaneously with other live or inactivated vaccines (including influenza vaccines) is possible and useful.

Is there anything that persons with an egg protein allergy should consider when getting an influenza vaccination?

According to national and international guidelines, a mild to moderate egg protein allergy is no obstacle to the administration of vaccines containing egg protein (with the exception of the vaccination against yellow fever). Numerous scientific studies document that influenza vaccines are well tolerated also by persons allergic to egg protein. Hence, these vaccines can be given if a thirty-minute observation period after the injection is observed. Egg protein allergy is considered the second most common food allergy among very young children and usually disappears as early as school age. The EU threshold value for egg protein in vaccines that is considered safe for persons suffering from allergies is 2 μg. This threshold value is only exceeded in the yellow fever vaccine; for all other currently approved vaccines, it is less than 1 μg per dose, mostly even in the nanogram range. However, it may be that you cannot be vaccinated if you have previously had a severe allergic reaction or anaphylactic shock in connection with egg protein or one of the available vaccines. Please take any medical findings, diagnoses and records you might have along to the pre-vaccination medical consultation.