Flu vax could help reduce strain on public healthcare system amid coronavirus outbreak


AUSTRALIANS are being urged by pharmacists to make flu vaccinations a priority in light of the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

Although the vaccine is not effective to prevent COVID-19, Australians could help reduce the number of influenza cases to lessen the burden on the public healthcare system when COVID-19 cases are expected to rise.

TerryWhite Chemmart said people should ensure their flu vaccinations are up to date before the fast spreading virus COVID-19 hits amid the busy flu season. Last year’s record-breaking flu season claimed a staggering 902 lives and infected more than 313,000 people nationally. In Queensland, 65,583 people were infected with influenza.

With more than 90 coronavirus cases and three deaths already in Australia and more expected, this winter is anticipated to be an extremely demanding one for health professionals.

Supplies of the quadrivalent flu vaccine have arrived in TerryWhite Chemmart pharmacies across Australia and members of the public can book appointments for a flu vaccination now.

Pharmacists are able to vaccinate people aged over 10 years in Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia and aged over 16 in all other states. A prescription is not required. The flu vaccination service is completed within minutes by a trained and qualified TerryWhite Chemmart pharmacist in a private consultation space.

TerryWhite Chemmart Professional Practice Pharmacist Chris Campbell said vaccination was best undertaken in the early autumn months to ensure the best protection before the peak flu season which usually occurred between June and September.

“It’s important that people recognise the significant 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.”

According to an alarming poll conducted by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, more than half of Australians were not planning on getting vaccinated as they believed they were low risk(2). It is important that the risks associated with the influenza virus are not underestimated.

“The people who are most at risk include young children, pregnant women, older people and people with chronic medical conditions including asthma and heart disease. The vulnerability of these high-risk groups was highlighted during the 2019 flu season, with 28.6 per cent of people hospitalised for influenza aged 15 years and younger, 31 per cent aged between 16 and 64 years, and 40.4 per cent aged 65 years and older(3).

“It may also be appropriate for people to consider a whooping cough vaccination at the same time, particularly high-risk customers over the age of 50 who haven’t had a booster in the last 10 years to ensure they are best protected for winter.”

Mr Campbell said it was important people prioritise their health in the lead up to the winter flu season and take preventative action.

People can book an appointment online at http://www.terrywhitechemmart.com.au/flu or they can visit their local TerryWhite Chemmart at a date and time that is suitable to them. Walk-ins and weekend appointments are also available in most TerryWhite Chemmart pharmacies, so check with your local TerryWhite Chemmart.

For more information visit https://www.terrywhitechemmart.com.au/flu

2. https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/health-problems/half-of-australians-planning-on-skipping-out-on-flu-vaccine-thisseason/news-story/415c75316296223c334b603adfa1b7f4
3. https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/cda-surveil-ozflu-flucurr.htm#current

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