With the recent COVID-19 outbreak and uncertainty surrounding the Covid Vaccination roll-out, there is a lot of public concern about the flu vaccine shots and when to take them. Authorities are urging for as many Australians as possible to get vaccinated against the Flu this year in order to prevent the potential double threat of Covid-19 and Influenza outbreaks. This has sparked widespread debate about the whole issue of influenza, exactly what it is and how to prevent becoming infected.
Pro Health Care’s clinics are in the frontline fight against influenza and available to offer advice as well as provide the relevant flu shot.
Multiple flu viruses circulate each year and are broadly grouped into two types: A and B. Dr Sally-Anne Parsons, Clinical Director at Pro Health Care Stirling, explains: “The usually less severe influenza B viruses have two main strains, while the influenza A viruses tend to be more serious and, because they are variable, are of most concern.
“The influenza A viruses are usually A/H3N2 or A/H1N1, which lingers on from the 2009 ‘swine flu’ pandemic and was the biggest player in 2017/18.” With a special interest in paediatrics, women’s health and palliative care, Dr Parsons has seen how influenza can affect a wide range of age groups. “Influenza is easily transmitted through inhaling respiratory aerosols released when coughing or sneezing or by direct contact with respiratory secretions,” she says. “Think of keyboards, handshakes and phones”.
“Then follows an incubation period of up to three days so people do not realise they have the virus and continue to work on, often spreading their illness to work colleagues.”
“The typical flu season in Australia is around June to September. We have evidence to show vaccine immunity can sometimes wear off after a few months. For this reason the timing of influenza immunisation is very important and should not be done too early, late April or May is ideal.”
However, there will be challenges this year in timing the flu shot with the Covid-19 vaccaintion. All patients should be reminded that they require at least 2 weeks between receiving their Flu shot before they can receive their Covid-19 vaccination.
Pro Health Care doctors can advise on the new, stronger, vaccine issued for free under the National Immunisation Program. This is recommended for people considered a high risk of influenza’s complications, such as the over 65’s, the very young and pregnant women. Our doctors are running clinics for this demographic and are otherwise offering vaccinations at a small fee to patients that fall outside of this eligibility criteria.
Pro Health Care clinics also offer corporate flu clinics for small to medium businesses seeking to vaccinate their employees. Email a request for corporate flu clinics to firstname.lastname@example.org