With flu season nearly here it’s essential that Western Australians don’t forget about getting the flu vaccination.
With the focus on the Covid-19 rollout, it can often be overlooked but influenza is still a serious respiratory illness and immunisation is the best protection.
While you should aim to get the flu vaccine as early as possible to have the best protection during the peak season (typically July – October in WA), it’s essential to avoid getting it within 14 days of a Covid-19 vaccine dose.
The 14-day time frame is a precautionary measure to manage common side effects that may come with many vaccinations.
“While our attention has understandably been focused on the Covid-19 vaccine, we must remember influenza illness takes a considerable toll on our community and is responsible for a large number of hospitalisations and deaths,” said Health Minister Roger Cook.
Although the flu vaccine is recommended for all ages, the Commonwealth and State governments provide it for free to those at the greatest risk of harm from influenza illness.
A free vaccination is available for:
- children aged six months to five years;
- primary school-aged children;
- pregnant women;
- people 65 years and older;
- Aboriginal people of all ages; and
- anyone with an underlying medical condition that places them at risk of serious influenza infection and complications.
Young children not only experience high rates of influenza infection and hospitalisation but are a major source of transmission to others. With less than 10 per cent of this cohort currently vaccinated, parents are encouraged to act now to get them immunised.
Influenza vaccinations are available from GP clinics, Aboriginal Medical Services, immunisation pharmacies and other immunisation providers.
“With the onset of colder weather, we expect to see an increase in respiratory virus cases, such as influenza, and with the added risk of Covid-19 outbreaks, there is more reason for everyone to get vaccinated against both viruses,” said Mr Cook.
A public awareness campaign will run across WA for several months reminding people of the importance of getting vaccinated to prevent influenza – never more important than in the current environment.