16 April, 2020
The more people who are vaccinated against the flu this season, the less the flu will spread in the community. Minimising the spread of flu is a good way to reduce strain on hospitals and the healthcare system in general during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Influenza (the flu) is a major cause of illness in Australia and people die of the flu every year. Last year’s flu vaccine will not give protection this year. The vaccine needs to be taken every year as every year there are new strains of the virus. There is a specific vaccine for people over 65 which provides the best protection in this age group.
Pharmacist and Medicines Line manager at NPS MedicineWise Nerida Packham says April to June is usually a good time to get your flu shot in Australia.
“It’s particularly important to get your flu vaccination before winter this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Ms Packham.
“Flu vaccination will not prevent you from getting infected with COVID-19, but it will help you avoid influenza and its complications. Symptoms may be more severe if you are infected with both influenza and COVID-19 at the same time.
“As many practices are only providing telehealth consultations, check with your local practice about arrangements to get the flu vaccine. Some community pharmacies are also giving flu vaccines. Social distancing measures will be in place to keep everyone safe.”
NPS MedicineWise has published a new consumer-friendly news article answering commonly asked questions about the flu vaccine.
A COVID-19 information hub also provides regularly updated information about being medicinewise during the current pandemic, including whether you can take ibuprofen to treat the symptoms of COVID-19, what you need to know if you have asthma, and up to date information about pharmacy restrictions.
If you have any questions about your medicines and how to use them: ask.
- Your doctor or pharmacist are trusted sources of information.
- If you don’t want to leave the house you can also call Medicines Line on 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424) with questions about your prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines.
Source: NPS MedicineWise.