WITH the 2020 flu season not far away, all Australians —and especially those in vulnerable groups or age brackets— should arrange vaccination against seasonal influenza during the month of April.
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Federal Member for Lyne, Dr David Gillespie urged Australians to speak to their GP, pharmacist or aged care provider to arrange a flu vaccination over the coming weeks.
“Whilst flu vaccination does not prevent against COVID-19, a flu vaccination is critical to protecting the general health of Australians from influenza, and preventing an unnecessary burden on our hospitals of seasonal flu,” Dr Gillespie said.
“The Australian Government has invested more than $80 million to provide more free vaccines under the National Immunisation Program in 2020 than ever before, including an enhanced vaccination for people aged 65 years and over.”
In total over 13.5 million doses of seasonal influenza vaccines have been secured, this includes over 4 million doses of Fluad Quad® for those aged 65 years and older.”
The National Immunisation Program provides free vaccines to those most at risk, including:
• Pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy;
• People aged 65 years and older;
• People aged six months and older with certain medical risk factors; and
• For the first time, all children aged between six months and five years.
Receiving a vaccination from April provides optimal protection in the peak period of influenza circulation, usually from June to September in most parts of Australia.
This year it is even more important to be vigilant about the flu because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While there is not yet a vaccine or effective treatment for COVID-19, vaccination provides an effective defence against the flu.
Vaccinating against the flu will reduce the risk of a very dangerous double-up of flu and coronavirus—both diseases affecting the respiratory system.
Vaccinated people of all ages are less likely to get the flu and if they do, are less likely to have a severe case. Fewer cases and fewer severe cases of flu will result in less demand on our health care system.
The actions that we take to slow the spread of COVID-19 can also stop the spread of influenza and other viruses. Every one of us has a responsibility to contribute to this effort by:
• Practising good hygiene
• Practising social distancing
• Following the Government’s directions on public gatherings and workplaces, and
• Understanding how and when to self-isolate.
More information on the flu is available at https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation/immunisation-services/flu-influenza-immunisation-service.