26 September 2023

Health call to vaccinate against flu

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The Directorate of Health is encouraging the Canberra community to organise their flu shot ahead of this year’s flu season.

Minister for Health, Rachel Stephen-Smith and the ACT’s Chief Health Officer, Kerryn Coleman launched the 2020 flu vaccination campaign, advising Canberrans it was more important than ever to be vaccinated this year.

“As we head into winter, we are preparing for flu season and a possible increase of COVID-19 cases in the ACT,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.

“Reducing the spread of influenza this year will help to alleviate the pressure on our health system and health care workers as they work to respond to COVID-19,” she said.

“We do not want to see people contracting influenza and COVID-19 at the same time.”

Ms Stephen-Smith said the flu vaccine was particularly important for people 65 and over, who, in addition to being at greater risk of complications from influenza, were also more at risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19.

“We strongly encourage those who are eligible for a free influenza vaccine through the National Immunisation Program to get vaccinated now,” she said.

She said the flu vaccine was free in the ACT for children aged 6 months to under 5 years; people 65 years and older; pregnant women; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders; and people aged 6 months and over with underlying medical conditions.

Dr Coleman said it was important to understand that while the flu vaccine didn’t protect against COVID-19, the Directorate of Health strongly recommended everyone be vaccinated this year.

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