Australians are being urged not to give into injection fatigue and get another shot this winter.
Australians are being urged to book in another injection as flu season approaches amid concerns over how the health system will cope if they don’t.
Lockdown and other Covid restrictions have meant society has been well protected against the flu in recent years, but that has changed with things opening up.
Mater Health Services director of infectious diseases Paul Griffin told 3AW on Tuesday that it was more important than ever for people to get their annual flu vaccine.
“(Getting) the flu vaccine this year is perhaps one of the most important years ever based on the fact we’ve had really low flu numbers because what we did for Covid was really effective against the flu,” Dr Griffin said
“We’ve had low flu vaccine rates, so our population is very susceptible to the flu right now.”
While the effects of the flu are often not associated with death, it can have a serious impact, especially among young people, the elderly and vulnerable.
“A lot of people underestimate the impact of the flu… but the flu is actually quite significant,” Dr Griffin said.
“It can certainly result in the loss of life and in a bad flu year we can lose in the order of a small number of thousands.”
Dr Griffin said it was “difficult” to predict what the upcoming flu season would look like because Covid measures had changed the way society moved and operated.
But they said while authorities were not expecting a “terrible” flu season, even a little bit of the virus, along with Covid, would create a “huge burden” for a healthcare system that was already strained.
Dr Griffin’s message was to get vaccinated against both viruses, saying all Australians “will need” a fourth Covid shot at some stage.
“I know for a lot of people it does seem like a lot of injections that they may not have been used to,” he said.
“We do need to make sure that people have their third and, if they’re one of those eligible people, their winter booster for Covid.”