22 April 2015

Get your flu shot before the flu gets you

The Federal Member for Corangamite, Sarah Henderson, is calling on the Corangamite community to get their annual influenza shot, with a new, improved vaccine now available.

Sarah Henderson said the influenza vaccination available under the National Immunisation Program now protected against the three most prevalent flu strains following a severe flu season in the northern hemisphere winter just gone and a record season in Australia last year.

Ms Henderson said vaccination was the best defence against the flu, which contributed too many thousands of deaths annually across Australia.

“The more people who are vaccinated, the less chance the illness spreads throughout the rest of the Corangamite community,” Ms Henderson said.

“Those most at risk of the flu are those members of the community who are are ill, vulnerable, pregnant or elderly.

“The message for Corangamite residents is simple – get your flu shot before the flu gets you this winter.”

The National Seasonal Influenza Immunisation Program began on Monday 20 April following a rare double strain change in the vaccine to ensure Australians were protected against the most likely strains this winter.

Ms Henderson said the Australian Government provides free flu vaccines for those most at risk and eligible people can get one from their local GP or health care providers.

“Consistent with national and international advice, the vaccine has been significantly changed to ensure Australians receive the most appropriate protection this winter.”

Influenza activity across the country is currently variable, but there are already early indications of a severe season ahead this upcoming Australian winter with higher levels of the disease across the eastern seaboard states and South Australia.

Under the National Immunisation Program, flu vaccine is provided free to:
• People six months of age and over with medical conditions which place them at risk of serious complications of influenza;
• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from six months to five years, and 15 years of age and over;
• Pregnant women; and
People 65 years of age and over.