Flu shot crucial ahead of winter, doctors say

Doctor Adrian Sheen. Photo: Megan Dunn.
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With the community dealing with COVID-19 and flu season fast approaching, people are being encouraged to ensure they are being vaccinated to protect themselves where they can.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard has said that while the flu vaccine won’t prevent Coronavirus, it would help to reduce the severity and spread of seasonal influenza, which can lower a person’s immunity and make them vulnerable to other illnesses.

With 2019 being the longest flu season on record, Dr Adrian Sheen from Glenmore Park Medical Centre said everyone should get vaccinated when the national roll out begins.

“The Government’s advice is that they will be providing immunisations from mid-April, so it is best for everyone to be going along with that, especially this year,” Dr Sheen said.

“The flu shot only prevents the most common type of flu that is around this time of year but It’s vital that people do what they can to minimise their chances because it has the potential to be even worse than usual.”

Dr Sheen said it is also a good idea that aged care facilities are enforcing rules for anyone who does not have a current flu vaccination after May 1 to not be allowed entry.

“Nursing homes are very difficult to manage, and the staff do a fantastic job so we need them as fit as possible which is why they will get vaccinated,” he said.

“If any visitors bring a flu into a nursing home it just adds an enormous amount of work for everyone so anything to minimise the chances of that going through is absolutely vital.”

With the current pandemic going on Dr Sheen said everyone should be going to their GP to get vaccinated and use it as an opportunity to discuss mental health as well.

“This crisis is causing sub conscious stress on everyone which is dampening for general well being so go to your family doctor who you have a relationship with to get the flu jab but also discuss how you are feeling emotionally,” he said.

“The coronavirus is a bad flu and the normal flu will soon be in force so people need to avoid unnecessary physical contact, be protected and keep their chins up that we will get through this period.”

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