Free flu shots are available as the upcoming flu season is expected to be worse than usual after two years of COVID-19 restrictions that reduced movement.
Sydney and Melbourne city councils are hosting free flu vaccination clinics as health authorities warn Australians to prepare for flu season.
The flu has been less prominent in the last two years as restrictions targeting COVID-19 reduced movement, but with the end of restrictions across the country, an increase in influenza infections is expected.
Research commissioned by the vaccine advocacy group Immunization Coalition found that only 35 percent of adults under 65 planned to get a flu shot this year, even though 73 percent expected this year’s season It was worse than 2020 and 2021.
The group is hosting free flu vaccination clinics for people under 65 on Friday at Melbourne and Sydney City Councils with the support of St Vincent’s Mobile Health and Immunization Service.
“The latest research shows that people are aware that we could have a bad flu season, but that doesn’t translate to people booking a vaccination appointment with their GP or pharmacist,” said Robert Booy, a member of Immunization Coalition.
More people die from the flu than at the annual toll roads in a typical flu season, and immunity is likely to have waned due to lack of exposure in the past two years, said coalition chairman Rod Pierce.
It’s important for both adults and children to get vaccinated, as younger and older Australians are at higher risk of flu-related complications, he added.
A severe flu season could also exacerbate current workforce and supply chain problems.
The Australian College of Nursing has also asked Australians to ensure their vaccinations are up to date.
“As the colder months approach, now is the time to get vaccinated to ensure you and your loved ones are protected,” said ACN Executive Director Kylie Ward.