Australians urged to get flu shots as cases surge

April 14, 2024 BY

President of the Australian Medical Association, Professor Steve Robson. Photo: AMA

THE Pharmacy Guild of Australia has sounded the alarm on the rising number of flu cases across the country, encouraging eligible Australians to get their flu vaccination early.

In the first quarter of 2024, the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) reported 26,836 influenza cases, a figure that has already doubled compared to the same period last year.

Pharmacy Guild national president, Professor Trent Twomey, highlighted the importance of getting vaccinated before the flu season.

“Community pharmacies stand ready to administer vaccines around the country and in Queensland, the state government is providing the flu vaccine to all residents aged 6 months and over for free until September 30,” he said.

Flu season typically runs from May to October; however, President of the Australian Medical Association, Professor Steve Robson, said over the last few years, it’s beginning a little bit earlier each year.

“I think it makes perfect sense that everybody starts to attune to that really now and start to prep for the flu season,” he said.

Speaking on ABC Radio Melbourne last week, Mr Robson said the influenza vaccination is simple, safe, and effective.

“It’s something that can protect the whole community at a time of great threat and great risk to a lot of vulnerable Australians.”

Getting vaccinated ahead of the flu season is crucial for protection against the flu and its complications, according to Professor Twomey.

“Although the vaccine will last throughout the year, it is most effective in the first three to four months following its administration.”

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommends that individuals who received a flu vaccine in late 2023 still get vaccinated for 2024.

ATAGI also stated that flu vaccines could be administered simultaneously with other vaccines, including COVID.

The Australian Government supports the provision of influenza vaccines to eligible patients under the National Immunisation Program (NIP).

For more information or to book a vaccination appointment, individuals are encouraged to speak with their community pharmacist or visit findapharmacy.com.au.