The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has urged Australians to book in early for flu vaccinations this year. While the RACGP recommends annual flu vaccination, 2020 is a slightly different situation. Because of COVID-19 resource drain, and the risks for community members who contract flu and COVID-19, early vaccination is recommended. As we don’t have a vaccine for COVID-19, flu vaccination can be thought of as a COVID-19 risk management precaution.
In a press release on March 31 this year, RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon said:
“Protecting yourself and your family from the flu with a vaccination now will help reduce the strain on health resources from COVID-19. If people don’t get vaccinated and an increasing number of flu patients and COVID-19 patients require urgent healthcare, lives will be put at risk.”
Many healthcare providers were on early alert for flu. Last year was one of the worst flu seasons on record, with cases climbing from February instead of May. Fortunately, the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System’s March’s rates suggest we are on track to maintain a traditional flu season. This reduction is no doubt partly due to social distancing rules currently in place across Australia.