Experts urge Australians: If you are not in the queue for a COVID vaccine – get your influenza vaccination now.

Latest research is suggesting that less than half the population intend to get a flu shot this year. Last year’s flu numbers were kept low because of social distancing and good hygiene, AND BECAUSE A RECORD NUMBER OF AUSTRALIANS GOT THEIR FLU SHOT!

Australia could face a “rebound flu season” this winter. With fewer people getting vaccinated, there will be less herd immunity.

Data suggests that Australia could be due for a bad flu season this year based on trends during the past five years:

  • The flu seasons of 2017 and 2019 were significantly higher than each of the previous years.
  • The Immunisation Coalition recorded 251,290 cases of influenza in 2017 – the bulk of which were in the colder months of May to October.
  • That came after 90,884 influenza cases in 2016.
  • The 2019 flu season was particularly bad, with 313,085 cases after a relatively lean 59,000 in 2018.

Expert Prof Mary-Louise McLaws: “It is unrealistic to expect that life will return to normal this year. While we have almost no COVID-19 local transmissions and with COVID vaccines being rolled out Australians are still at risk of influenza.”

IC Chair Rod Pearce: “In winter humidity is low and viral particles can latch onto dry throats and noses easier, so I urge Australians to get the influenza shot in coming weeks, well before the beginning of flu season.”

If you worried about which vaccine you should get, ask your health care professional:

  • Is it this season’s vaccine?
  • Is it age appropriate for you?

Professor Robert Booy:

“The simple message is that unless you are booked in to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in the next 14 days, you should see a doctor or pharmacist for influenza vaccination!”

IC CEO Kim Sampson:

“We should not forget that influenza infection can be life-threatening, with the average flu season responsible for more deaths than the annual road toll. No matter your age or health status, steering clear of influenza should be a top priority at this time of year.”

It’s important that Australians take advantage of the available protections in the coming weeks and get vaccinated to help protect themselves and those around them.

This year, influenza vaccines available in Australia have been updated with the latest strains of the viruses currently circulating.