Two years of Covid lockdowns, restrictions and border closures have meant that the flu season has largely laid dormant.
However, doctors are warning that as the nation continues to reopen, 2022 is on a trajectory towards a significant and early flu season, and are urging Australians to get their flu shot as soon as possible.
Compared with 598 cases of influenza across Australia in 2021, AMA Queensland President Professor Chris Perry says that the latest figures from May reveal that in Queensland alone there have already been “1000 confirmed cases of influenza and a number of combined flu-Covid cases”.
“We have not seen 1000 cases in Queensland in May for eight years,” Professor Perry said.
“This suggests that we will see a significant and early flu season.”
Professor Perry says that the combined flu and Covid cases will escalate the pressure on the health system, so “your best protection is to get your flu shot now”.
AMA Queensland Vice President Dr Bav Manohara says that because of the focus on Covid over recent years, many may not have kept their flu vaccines up to date.
But now, especially with international borders opening, the flu is coming from the northern hemisphere making it imperative that Australians get their flu shot, according to Dr Manohara.
“Influenza is a serious disease and we do not want to see what happened just years ago with five people dying each week during the flu season,” Dr Manohara said.