A flu injection helps in the battle against the COVID-19 virus, even though it has no effect on the virus itself.
A flu injection helps in the battle against the COVID-19 virus, even though it has no effect on the virus itself.

Flu jabs play important role in helping battle coronavirus

THERE might not be a vaccine to protect from COVID-19, but getting a flu jab is the next best thing.

Grafton O Plus Health practice manager Trish Tracey said the flu vaccine does not protect from COVID-19, but it could ensure people don't get both diseases at once, which could be fatal for many vulnerable people.

And Ms Tracey said it also had wider benefits for the community.

"Getting a flu shot means you're unlikely to get sick with the flu and need use up resources which could be better directed at treating COVID-19 patients.

Ms Tracey has ensured all physical isolation and hygiene guidelines have been followed at her Grafton practice downstairs in Grafton Shoppingworld.

And she these in mind when the practice begins a vaccination campaign on Monday offering free flu shots to eligible people over 65.

"We wanted to minimise the number of people getting out and about in the community, so we've scheduled the free flu shots every morning between 7am and 8am," she said.

That should mean there are a not so many people getting about."

Ms Tracey said there were strict eligibility guidelines for for free influenza vaccine.

Free seasonal influenza vaccine is funded for the following groups at higher risk of complications from influenza:

• All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged six months and over

• People aged 65 years and over (vaccine that is specifically designed to produce a higher immune response is available for this group).

• All children aged six months to less than five years of age (including Aboriginal and medically at risk)

• Pregnant women (influenza vaccine can be given at any stage of pregnancy)

There are other criteria, which people should alert their doctor to ahead of coming in for a shot.

• Aged five years and over with medical risk conditions, namely:

• Cardiac disease, chronic respiratory conditions, copd, severe asthma

• Other chronic illnesses requiring regular medical follow up or hospitalisation in the previous year, including diabetes mellitus, chronic metabolic diseases, chronic renal failure, and

• Chronic neurological conditions, including multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, and seizure disorders

• Impaired immunity, including HIV, malignancy and chronic steroid use

Free seasonal influenza vaccine is funded for the following groups at higher risk of complications from influenza:

• all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged six months and over

people aged 65 years and over (vaccine that is specifically designed to produce a higher immune response is available for this group).

• all children aged six months to less than five years of age (including Aboriginal and medically at risk)

• pregnant women (influenza vaccine can be given at any stage of pregnancy)

There are other criteria:

• aged five years and over with medical risk conditions, namely:

• cardiac disease ,chronic respiratory conditions, copd, severe asthma

• other chronic illnesses requiring regular medical follow up or hospitalisation in the previous year, including diabetes mellitus, chronic metabolic diseases, chronic renal failure, and

• chronic neurological conditions, including multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, and seizure disorders

• impaired immunity, including HIV, malignancy and chronic steroid use



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