A new campaign will hit TV screens from tonight urging Victorians to protect themselves against the flu this winter and get their flu shot, following one of the worst flu seasons on record last year.
We experienced a long and horrific flu season in 2017, with more than 48,000 confirmed cases of influenza, record demand on hospitals and, tragically, a number of deaths. Flu kills more than 3,500 Australians each year.
The best defence against the flu is the flu shot. Everyone should get an annual flu shot anytime from mid-April onwards to be protected for the peak flu season, which is generally June to September. However, it’s never too late to be vaccinated as the flu can spread all year round.
The new campaign reminds people of easy steps to take to prevent getting and spreading the flu, such as coughing or sneezing into your elbow and washing your hands thoroughly. If you’re really sick, stay away from work and other places where you’ll spread the flu.
The flu shot is now available from general practitioners and community immunisation sessions. Thanks to the Andrews Labor Government, many of our pharmacies are also now able to provide the flu shot as well as advice about the virus.
Some of our most vulnerable Victorians will be protected with a free flu shot. All Victorians over 65 are eligible for a free flu shot that is specially formulated and gives them increased protection.
From 1 May, children aged from 6 months to under 5 years old will be able to receive a free flu shot after the Labor Government announced $3.5 million to provide flu shots for Victorian children.
Pregnant women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and anyone with a chronic condition or weakened immune system are also eligible for a free flu vaccine.
Flu symptoms hit quickly and may last for several weeks and include high fever, a dry cough, body aches and feeling extremely weak and tired.
Earlier this month, the Labor Government announced a $50 million boost to Victorian hospitals to help them open more beds, hire more doctors and nurses to treat more patients this winter, following one of the worst flu seasons on record last year.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy
“Flu vaccinations save lives. We know influenza is a highly contagious viral infection, spread by contact with fluids from coughs and sneezes, that’s why we’re investing in getting more children vaccinated against the flu.”
“Flu isn’t like the common cold. It can have serious and devastating outcomes. Our message is simple: you never forget the flu, so don’t forget your flu shot.”
“When more people are vaccinated, fewer people become ill or suffer life-threatening complications from influenza. That’s why it’s vital to get your flu shot.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020