Now is not the time to get the flu: Don't put off that flu jab

Over 65s urged to get special seniors flu vaccine available from mid April 2020

Latest in Health
Aa

FLUAD Quad is an inactivated vaccine that causes your body to produce its own antibodies against four types of influenza virus.

Aa

THE special Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine for over-65s should be available from mid-April - and Australian seniors are being urged not to put off their annual jab.

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners president Harry Nespolon said that with COVID-19 spreading across the country, this year it was more important than ever for people to have their flu vaccine as soon as possible.

"Protecting yourself and your family from the flu with a vaccination now will help reduce the strain on health resources from COVID-19," Dr Nespolon said.

"If people don't get vaccinated and an increasing number of flu patients and COVID-19 patients require urgent healthcare, lives will be put at risk."

Dr Nespolon said it was important that people call ahead before visiting their GP.

"This is important as it allows clinic staff to make sure patients don't have any flu or COVID-19 symptoms before coming to the clinic, to ensure the safety of other patients as well as GPs and staff.

Protecting yourself and your family from the flu with a vaccination now will help reduce the strain on health resources from COVID-19. If people don't get vaccinated and an increasing number of flu patients and COVID-19 patients require urgent healthcare, lives will be put at risk. - Dr Harry Nespolen, president, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners

"Practices have infection control processes in place, but patients need to do their bit - that's why you must always call ahead; don't just drop in."

Influenza can have a substantial negative impact on adults 65 years and older with higher hospitalisation and death rates compared to younger, healthier adults.Between 1997 and 2016, 80 per cent of influenza-reported deaths in Australia were in people aged 65 and over.

FLUAD Quad is a four strain (quadrivalent) inactivated flu vaccine that works by causing your body to produce its own antibodies against the four types of influenza virus that are in the vaccine. It also contains an adjuvant, a substance added to the vaccine to facilitate the process. Adjuvanted vaccines are sometimes used for older adults as the effectiveness of the immune system decreases with age.

"Vaccinating for flu is always important - but this year it will be particularly critical, and especially for older Australians and those with chronic diseases. - Associate Professor Woodward, Director, Aged Care Research and the Head of Memory Clinic at Austin Health.

Associate Professor Michael Woodward, Director, Aged Care Research and the Head of Memory Clinic at Melbourne-based Austin Health said that this is not the year you want to get flu, nor be complacent about the significant impact influenza has each year on our public health system, particularly the more severe cases that end up in intensive care units (ICU).

"Vaccinating for flu is always important - but this year it will be particularly critical, and especially for older Australians and those with chronic diseases.

"While the flu vaccine does not protect against the COVID-19 virus, immunising against the flu - particularly in high-risk groups like those aged 65 and over - may help to reduce the risk of diagnostic uncertainty between flu and COVID-19 and reduce pressure on our health system and ICUs."

From May 1, you must have your influenza vaccination if you want to visit an aged care facility.

Aa