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AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (WA)
West Australians should talk to their General Practitioner about immunisation as part of their preparation for the flu-season, Australian Medical Association (WA) President Dr Michael Gannon said today.
“Vaccines are being delivered to GP’s this week, and now is the time to discuss you and your family’s needs when it comes to preparing for winter,” Dr Gannon said.
“The flu season begins soon, so it is important to get vaccinated in the next few weeks. Given that it takes a couple of weeks after vaccination for full immunity to develop, people should be taking steps to have their flu jabs soon, and not waiting until the wet weather starts.”
“Only GPs have the training, experience and background knowledge of your medical needs to provide vaccination in the safest possible environment.”
Dr Gannon also warned people not to fall for misinformation supplied by anti-vaccination lobbyists.
“There is a lot of misinformation out there, with social media especially prone to irresponsible claims made anonymously by people without a day of scientific training. Vaccines are safe, and I urge all parents to do the responsible thing. Be vaccinated and make sure you children are properly vaccinated.”
“We should be thinking not just our own health, or that of our families, but we should be thinking of the health of the community as a whole,” he said.
Dr Gannon also called on schools to encourage their students to be vaccinated.
“Schools have to ensure that they have accurate immunisation records for every child who entered at any age, not just those starting for the first time,” he said.
“We are all in this together. We as a society should work as one to ensure that we are collectively as healthy as possible,” Dr Gannon said.
Influenza is a serious illness that can lead to hospitalisation and death.
There are about 1,500-2,500 influenza-related deaths annually in Australia.
In addition to the loss of life, annual influenza outbreaks represent a significant healthcare burden and cost to industry and to the individual.
According to the Influenza Specialist Group, a recent Australian study found that influenza:
•causes 18,000 hospitalisations
•requires over 300,000 GP consultations
•costs the Australian health care system at least $85 million every year