In a recent online article1 Tasmanian Health Minister, Sarah Courtney, stated that Tasmanians “can help keep themselves and others around them well this winter by having an influenza vaccination as an effective defence against the flu.”
Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Tasmanian President Mr John Dowling said he agrees and noted that 200,000 Tasmanians have already received their annual flu shot, with community pharmacies around the state experiencing record numbers of people requesting to have the vaccination.
“It’s clear that many people have heeded the Chief Medical Officer’s plea to get protected against influenza, and that is a very good thing”, Mr Dowling said.
“With the COVID-19 virus still circulating interstate, it is important to guard against the possibility of contracting the two together – potentially causing very serious illness.”
Mr Dowling said he recognises that restrictions on travel interstate, physical distancing and increased hygiene protocols have resulted in flu presentations recorded across Tasmania this year are lower than usual, with only 158 confirmed cases so far this winter.
However even though numbers are low it doesn’t mean that flu isn’t in the community and those who are at risk should certainly have their flu shot.
“Tasmanians must not become complacent regarding the risks of influenza”, Mr Dowling said. “Now that COVID-19 restrictions are easing, with school and workplaces resuming, young people are spending more time together, making it even more important for parents to ensure their children have also received their flu vaccination.”
“Additionally, the Director of Public Health recently issued a directive stating that to visit a relative in a nursing home, family members must be able to show evidence that they have received a current influenza vaccine.”
“Community pharmacy can now vaccinate people from 10 years of age and many pharmacies are offering cost effective solutions for younger people to receive protection against the flu”, Mr Dowling said.
Vaccination at your local community pharmacy is easy, safe and administered by registered and appropriately trained health professionals.