COFFS Harbour residents are being urged by pharmacists not to be complacent this flu season 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.
TerryWhite Chemmart Coffs Harbour Pharmacist 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.
Ms Maloney said 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.
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The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation recommend receiving the Covid-19 and influenza vaccines at least 14 days apart.
“Most Australians (over 13 million) will qualify to receive their first COVID-19 vaccination from early May, which will be the TGA approved AstraZeneca/University of Oxford vaccine.
“This vaccine also needs to be given in two doses, four to 12 weeks apart.
“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.
“When planning and scheduling the timing of their vaccinations, we encourage people to seek advice from their immunisation provider and to discuss their personal health circumstances with their GP or pharmacist prior to receiving their vaccinations.
“While protection from a flu vaccination is generally expected to last for the whole flu season, optimal protection against the flu is strongest and most effective three to four months after you are vaccinated.
“The flu season in Australia usually runs from June to September, peaking in August, although it has started earlier than June in some years and can occur year-round.
“While we may not know yet how the flu seasons are going to evolve on the back of COVID-19, a flu vaccination remains a critical component in your arsenal against tackling influenza,“ said Ms Maloney.