Record flu vaccination rates in the ACT

Around 60 per cent more influenza vaccines have been delivered into the ACT community this year, compared to the same period last year.

ACT Health Public Health Physician Dr Vanessa Johnston said the close to 90,000 influenza vaccines distributed to immunisation providers to date was a record and meant more people than ever before have been vaccinated against the flu in our community.

“This increase in the number of people immunised for the flu this year is a real positive,” Dr Johnston said.

“Vaccination is the best protection we have against Influenza and as we head into August and September, which is normally the peak of the flu season, our community is well prepared,” Dr Johnston said.

One of the cohorts where there has been a significant increase in vaccination rates this year is children aged 6 months to under 5 years, with the ACT Government providing free flu vaccines this year. There has been a 35% vaccination coverage rate for this cohort to date in 2018, compared to 5% in 2017.

The latest stats on flu also show the number of laboratory confirmed influenza notifications remain at low levels in the ACT.

“Since the beginning of the year there have been 180 notifications of influenza reported to ACT Health. In comparison, there were 316 notifications of influenza reported to ACT Health during the same time period in 2017,” Dr Johnston said.

“These low influenza notification rates are a good start, however, as we get closer to the peak of the flu season we are reminding Canberrans that it’s not too late to get your flu shot.

“The flu vaccination is your best protection against the flu and is still available from your usual immunisation providers,” Dr Johnston said.

Influenza (commonly known as ‘flu’) is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. It is spread from person to person by virus-containing respiratory droplets produced during coughing or sneezing.

Flu vaccination is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older.

If people are sick, they should stay home and remember to wash their hands, cover their coughs and sneezes, and put used tissues in the bin straight after use.

If people have flu-like symptoms and need medical care, they can visit their local GP or one of the ACT’s free Walk-in Centres.

For more information on winter wellbeing and flu visit the ACT Health website at: http://www.health.act.gov.au/healthy-living/winter-wellbeing-and-flu

To view the latest ACT Influenza Report visit: http://www.health.act.gov.au/healthy-living/winter-wellbeing-and-flu/flu-act

Published date: 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018