The easing of COVID-19 restrictions has reinforced the need for Australians to be vaccinated against the flu.
And it is easier than ever with community pharmacies across the country now having trained pharmacists ready to deliver these vaccinations.
Adding to the ease of access to the flu vax is the fact that additional supplies ordered by the Government have now been delivered so community pharmacies generally have stocks on hand ready to vaccinate patients.
National President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia George Tambassis said it was especially important for all Australians to be vaccinated against the flu this year.
“The ongoing COVID-19 crisis highlights how critical it is to remain as healthy as possible to have a stronger resistance to catching it, or to recover quickly if you do catch it,” he said.
“Australia is in the unenviable situation of having to deal with the crisis at a time of the year when we usually face the onset of the flu season.”
With community pharmacies being easily accessible for the flu vax, gone are the days when you had to go to the doctor, get a prescription for a flu vaccine, go to the pharmacy to have the prescription dispensed and then return to the doctor to have the injection.
Now to minimise the risk of getting the flu this season all you have to do is visit a community pharmacy which provides a vaccination service.
The need to be immunised against the flu is not something to be taken lightly.
The flu is a virus which affects the respiratory tract and is usually worse in the winter months. The main symptoms are tiredness, fever, chills, headache, cough, sneezing and runny nose, and muscle aches.
For some people, catching the flu can be life threatening. By being vaccinated, you not only protect yourself, but also those around you who are unable to be vaccinated or who are at a higher risk of complications if they caught the flu – such as the elderly, babies and young children. People with poor immune systems or a chronic illness and those with respiratory and/or heart conditions, or diabetes are especially at risk.
Mr Tambassis said it was recommended that everyone over the age of six months should be vaccinated against the flu although at present pharmacies in most States and Territories can only vaccinate those 10 years and older.
“It is now easier than ever, and the accessibility of your community pharmacy means more and more people can be vaccinated quickly and easily,” he said.
“One of the great benefits of being able to get your vaccination in your pharmacy is that we have found it results in a large number of people getting immunised for the first time.
“In the past they have not had the time to go through the whole process but now just walking into their pharmacy makes it easy, so they are protected against the virus for the first time.
“This is a great health outcome for consumers across Australia.”
Mr Tambassis said people in rural and remote areas would benefit greatly.
“The availability of vaccination by pharmacists in rural areas will greatly assist the community’s access to protection against the flu,” he said.
“Previously this access may have been very limited because of absence of doctors or medical services.”
Like all medicines, there can be mild side effects with flu vaccines such as soreness, redness, pain and swelling at the injection site, drowsiness, tiredness, muscle aches and low-grade temperature or fever.
These side effects will usually go away within a few days without any treatment.
“I urge everyone to talk to their pharmacist about getting a flu shot before as soon as possible.”