‘Flu can make you more susceptible’ to COVID-19
WHILE it won't protect you from contracting coronavirus, Darling Downs Health advises Burnett residents to prepare for flu season by getting a flu shot.
"Although the flu vaccine does not protect against COVID-19, it is recommended that people get it to reduce their risk of hospitalisation during this pandemic, as flu can make you more susceptible to other respiratory illnesses like COVID-19," a representative from the health service said.
The Fluad Quad vaccine is being progressively rolled out, and the Darling Downs Health representative said it now available at the region's pharmacies and GP practices.
The vaccines are funded under the National Immunisation Program for the following groups due to their increased risk of complications from influenza:
• All children from six months to less than five years of age;
• All adults aged 65 years and older;
• Pregnant women;
• All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged six months and over;
• Individuals aged six months and older with medical conditions which increase the risk of influenza disease complications (for a full list, click here for the NCIRS Influenza Vaccines Fact Sheet).
"If you are not included in the categories above, you can purchase the flu vaccine from your doctor or pharmacy," the Darling Downs Health representative said.
"In 2020, all funded flu vaccines available will be quadrivalent vaccines, including the adjuvanted (enhanced) flu vaccine for adults aged 65 years and older.
"Only one government-funded flu vaccine is available for eligible people each year, with the exception of eligible children up to nine years of age receiving a flu vaccine for the first time (who require and are funded for two doses, four weeks apart)."
Flu season in Queensland typically runs from June to September, and the peak is usually in August.
The Darling Downs Health representative said vaccinating from April provided protection before the peak season took place.
"Protection peaks at about two to four weeks after vaccination and should last six months," they said.
"While protection is generally expected to last for the whole season, the best protection against flu occurs within the first three to four months following vaccination.
"It is never too late to vaccinate as flu can circulate in the community all year round."