Australians urged to book flu vaccination now while they wait for their Covid vaccination

Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh receiving his flu jab.

 

AUSTRALIANS are being urged by pharmacists not to be complacent and to make flu vaccinations a priority along with receiving the coronavirus vaccine in 2021 to ensure effective protection against the two separate and different viruses.

Coffs Harbour TerryWhite Chemmart Pharmacist owner Tanya Maloney said the key message for Australians when scheduling their flu and COVID-19 vaccinations in 2021 is to allow at least 14 days between each one as recommended by The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation.

“People should not be lulled into a false sense of complacency about the influenza virus.

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“It is highly infectious, and it is important for people to continue getting vaccinated and to plan now so they can be vaccinated for both the flu and COVID-19 in a timely manner,” said Ms Maloney.

“In all cases, the flu vaccination should be given at least 14 days apart from any dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“An annual flu vaccination is the best way to prevent yourself from getting the flu, and from then passing it on to someone else in the community.

“It’s important that people remember the health risks of the influenza virus – an incredibly infectious respiratory disease that can leave people unwell for a week or more, and in the worst cases, result in hospitalisation or death.

“The flu kills between 1500 and 3000 Australians a year – we cannot forget it.

“While 2020 was rightly about avoiding COVID-19, a potential unintended by-product of that may be less exposure to common pathogens and less resilient and ready immune systems to deal with infections like the flu,” said Ms Maloney.

“Furthermore, while social distancing and strict hygiene helped to curb the spread of the flu last year, relaxed social distancing this year may allow the flu viruses to recirculate.

“That’s compounded by the fact that flu vaccinations have taken a back seat with all the focus on the current COVID-19 vaccine roll out.

“We are starting to see an increase in sales of cough, cold and flu related products suggesting that there are cold and flu symptoms among the population already.

“That is why a flu vaccination is particularly critical now.

“There is a lot of misunderstanding about COVID-19 and influenza,” added Ms Maloney.

“The fact is they are different viruses, they are both dangerous and vaccines for both are equally important.

“A COVID vaccine will not protect you against the flu and vice versa.”

Ms Maloney added that while pharmacies were well prepared to commence distributing the COVID-19 vaccine shortly, now is the time to get a flu jab.

“There is still a process that the Federal Government and the regulators are working through with respect to the local roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine through pharmacies, but flu vaccinations are available now. In New South Wales, pharmacist immunisers can vaccinate anyone aged over 10 while those aged over 65 are advised to access their FREE flu vaccination through their GP,” Ms Maloney said.

“We are also offering a family flu clinic scheduled for Thursday 6 and Saturday 8 May which provides an in-store flu vaccination service by a nurse-immuniser for multiple family members from two years and older, right up to adults – a great option for families who want the convenience of booking everyone together in the one place.

“For most Australians, our focus should be on getting a flu vaccination, especially when we know that a two-week gap is required between the flu vaccination and a Covid-19 vaccination.

“If you can get your flu vaccination now, when it is your turn for the Covid-19 vaccination, you’ll be ready to get that too,” Ms Maloney.

Flu vaccinations are available now from across TerryWhite Chemmart locations, visit http://www.terrywhitechemmart.com.au/flu to schedule a vaccination appointment.

Customers can also visit TerryWhite Chemmart Coffs Harbour as walk-ins appointments are also available.

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