Why you need to get your flu vaccination early

Flu is a known trigger of asthma flare-ups and can mean a trip to the hospital for someone whose asthma is sensitive to viruses.  There are new flu strains covered by the vaccine each year, so it’s important to get one each year. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) said this year, it was more important than ever to get immunised against influenza. Whilst the flu vaccine won’t combat COVID-19, it may help reduce the severity of seasonal influenza. Stating ‘the last thing we want to see is patients infected with both influenza and COVID-19.”

Normally, Australians are advised to wait until mid-April or May to get their annual flu shot to ensure optimal protection across the flu season. However, supply has been brought forward a few weeks and can now be administered at pharmacies and GPs. Please note that if you have a child under 10 years, you will need to visit your GP to administer the flu vaccine, so they can monitor any possible reactions.

We encourage people with #asthma, particularly those where viruses are a trigger for their asthma, to make it today’s priority to arrange to get the flu shot.

Last years’ flu season

Last year’s seasonal flu contributed to a significant number of hospital presentations starting earlier than usual.

Influenza chart

How and when to get the Flu vaccine

To minimise the risk of exposure to Coronavirus (COVID-19), it’s important to call your GP or pharmacist ahead of time and make an appointment, in some cases you may be able to book online. We recommend asking what provisions are in place to protect or minimise the risk of exposure for people who are at higher risk of serious illness. Alternatively, immunisation services can also be accessed at community health clinics, Aboriginal medical services, through school-based immunisation programs, and at some workplaces.

If you visit are visiting your GP for the flu shot, it would be timely to also discuss and/or review your Asthma Action Plan and do two things at once.  We urge you to stay well this winter.

Who’s eligible for a free vaccine?

Under the Federal Government’s National Immunisation Program, the following groups are eligible for a free flu vaccine:

  • Children aged six months to five years (this is new in 2020)
  • Pregnant women (during any stage of pregnancy)
  • People aged 65 years and over
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over
  • People aged six months and over with medical conditions that mean they have a higher risk of flu complications (e.g. those with diabetes, severe asthma, lung or heart disease)

Immunization

(image source: Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation)

 

References

https://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2020-04-01/australians-urged-to-get-flu-vaccination-coronavirus-covid-19/12107264?fbclid=IwAR1IqBNhmwE8toaBGpZNUj1fqJiSJ2w_tZ5Jmd6NqUYPmPzuBsThB0J-jAo

https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation/immunisation-throughout-life/national-immunisation-program-schedule