Around 70% of Australians want to get vaccinated against the flu as soon as possible to avoid a double infection with Influenza and COVID-19, according the Immunisation Coalition’s Annual Influenza Consumer Survey results, which were released today.
The survey data comes after new restrictions, which require anyone from 1 May entering an aged care facility to provide evidence of the latest flu vaccination, were made.
People caring for elderly parents and other people at risk should also get the flu vaccine, the Immunisation Coalition suggests.
“Coronavirus and influenza are both dangerous on their own, but we now have two viruses that lead to respiratory infections spreading at once, said Dr Rod Pearce, Chairman of the Immunisation Coalition.
“Self-isolation will help reduce the incidence of coronavirus infection and influenza. However self-isolation is not a perfect strategy. The last thing people want is an infection of both viruses, so vaccination against influenza should be a priority,” explained Immunisation Coalition’s CEO Kim Sampson.
Meanwhile the Minister for Health Greg Hunt is encouraging as many Australians as possible to get the flu vaccine, particularly those over 65 and children aged six months to five years.
Mr Hunt said the country had currently 13.5 million units and the capacity to expand that amount if there was more demand.
“The flu in its own right, can take between 100 and 1000 lives a year, so it can be an agonising contagious disease in its own right.” Mr Hunt said.
“ But what we want to do is minimise it’s impact which will also help us fight the impacts of coronavirus.”
All influenza vaccines available in Australia this year have been updated to better protect against the circulating virus strains, the Immunisation Coalition said.