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AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (WA)
“The continuing good weather may cause many people to overlook the fact the flu season is upon us,” AMA (WA) President Associate Professor David Mountain said.
“The flu season begins around late Autumn so it is important to get vaccinated now. Given it takes a couple of weeks after vaccination for full immunity to develop people should be taking steps to have their flu jabs and not delaying this until the wet weather starts,” he said.
“This is particularly important for high risk groups such as those over 65 years old, indigenous Australians, pregnant women and those with certain medical conditions. Fortunately, for most of these groups the vaccine itself is free.”
“However, it is also important for people who have contact with those at high risk be vaccinated. Parents of children under two should vaccinate the whole family, and it is vital that health care workers, including family carers, get vaccinated to help minimise the likelihood of them transmitting the virus to the more vulnerable in the community,” he said.
Influenza is a serious illness that can lead to hospitalisation and even death. On average there are over 4,000 hospitalisations a year in Australia, with around 85 deaths.