- Influenza vaccination campaign begins
- Community reminded not to overlook influenza vaccine
- Two-week spacing required between influenza and COVID-19 vaccines
Western Australians are being urged to get vaccinated again this year - but this time it is to get protected against influenza.
Amid the focus on COVID-19, people are reminded influenza can also cause serious respiratory illness and that immunisation provides the best protection for all ages.
While people should get their seasonal flu vaccine as early as possible to optimise protection over the peak period for influenza infection in WA - typically from July to October - they should avoid getting it within 14 days of a COVID-19 vaccine dose.
This 14-day time frame is a precautionary measure to manage common side effects that may come with many vaccinations.
Although influenza vaccination is recommended for people of all ages, the Commonwealth and State governments fund the influenza vaccine to enable those at the greatest risk of harm from influenza illness to access it for free.
A free vaccination is available for:
- children aged six months to five years;
- primary school-aged children;
- pregnant women;
- people 65 years and older;
- Aboriginal people of all ages; and
- anyone with an underlying medical condition that places them at risk of serious influenza infection and complications.
Young children not only experience high rates of influenza infection and hospitalisation but are a major source of transmission to others. With less than 10 per cent of this cohort currently vaccinated, parents are encouraged to act now to get them immunised.
Influenza vaccinations are available from GP clinics, Aboriginal Medical Services, immunisation pharmacies and other immunisation providers.
A public awareness campaign will run across WA for several months reminding people of the importance of getting vaccinated to prevent influenza - never more important than in the current environment.
Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook:
"While our attention has understandably been focused on the COVID-19 vaccine, we must remember influenza illness takes a considerable toll on our community and is responsible for a large number of hospitalisations and deaths.
"Our hospital emergency departments are put under additional pressure during the peak flu season, due to patients presenting with flu and flu-like symptoms.
"With the onset of colder weather, we expect to see an increase in respiratory virus cases, such as influenza, and with the added risk of COVID-19 outbreaks, there is more reason for everyone to get vaccinated against both viruses.
"Even if you are young and healthy, getting vaccinated helps to protect others in the community who are at increased risk of flu complications."
Minister's office - 6552 6500