The Australia Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) Statement on Winter Season Preparedness has noted:

all residents are strongly recommended to receive an influenza vaccination,

aged care workers are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated against influenza; and

visitors are strongly recommended to receive an influenza vaccine.

What is influenza? 

Influenza is a highly contagious viral infection that can cause widespread illness and deaths every year. Influenza viruses usually spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. People may spread the virus before they know they are infected. This year we are all more vulnerable to influenza due to lower recent exposure to the virus and lower uptake of influenza vaccines. With international borders reopening, it’s likely we will see more influenza in 2022.

The influenza vaccine 

Vaccination is our best defence against influenza viruses. Even fit and healthy people should get the influenza vaccine to protect themselves and help to stop the spread of influenza. Influenza vaccination prepares your immune system to fight influenza viruses. The influenza vaccine uses parts of killed viruses to create an immune response following vaccination. The influenza vaccine cannot give you influenza because it does not contain any live viruses. The immunity provided by the vaccine can protect you from becoming sick if you get exposed to influenza in the community. This immunity can also reduce the severity of illness if you do get sick. Who should receive the influenza vaccine? Everyone six months and older is recommended to get an influenza vaccine each year. Some people in our community are more vulnerable to the influenza virus and can suffer more serious complications from influenza.

These people are eligible for free influenza vaccination through the National Immunisation Program:

– People aged 65 years and over

– Pregnant women (at any stage during pregnancy)

– All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over

– All children aged 6 months to less than 5 years

– People aged 6 months and over with certain medical conditions that increase their chance of severe influenza and its complications. In some states and territories, influenza vaccines may also be provided for free to other people not listed above.

Speak to your GP or visit your state or territory Department of Health website to find out. If you are not eligible for a free vaccine, you can also purchase an influenza vaccine. Speak to your GP or other immunisation provider for more information.

Vaccination is the safest way to protect yourself and others from influenza viruses

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