Timing of influenza vaccination critical for Australian patients

26 March, 2018

Timing of influenza vaccination is critical to ensuring patients have the highest level of protection from the influenza virus when the flu season commences.

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is advising Australian patients to receive their influenza vaccination at the right time with a specialist GP, to ensure they are protected.

RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel said there is no need for patients to rush for a flu vaccination as soon as they are available.

“Typically, flu season affects Australia from June to September, with the peak being August,” Dr Seidel said.

“Recent evidence suggests that protection following flu vaccination may begin to wear off after three to four months, so timing of vaccination is critical.

“Specialist GPs are up-to-date on when the flu season will affect Australian patients and will continue to offer vaccinations throughout the flu season.”

Dr Seidel said specialist GPs are best placed to advise Australian patients on timing of vaccination to achieve the highest level of protection during the period of influenza virus circulation.

“Your GP will know when to provide you the influenza vaccination, to ensure you have the best possible protection when the flu season begins,” Dr Seidel said.

Dr Seidel said he was concerned some influenza vaccine providers are already advising patients to receive a flu vaccination, which could put them in danger.

“Urging patients to receive their flu vaccination too early in the year may put them at serious risk,” Dr Seidel said.

“The last thing we want to see this year is patients doing the right thing and receiving a flu vaccination, only for the vaccination wear off by the time we reach flu season.”

Dr Seidel said the RACGP was again calling on the Federal Government to introduce a government-subsidised flu vaccination program for all Australians.

“Influenza vaccines should be available to every Australian through their GP this winter,” Dr Seidel said.

“A government-subsidised flu vaccination program would cost far less than the economic losses from the 3000 deaths a year, mounting hospital and health bills, and lost work productivity.

“We are seeing the same story every year – on average 3,000 deaths a year, 18,000 hospital admissions and 350,000 Australians affected by the flu – this is completely unacceptable in 2018 and it is time our political leaders commit to safeguarding Australians from the flu.”

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