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Don’t take the risk this season. Protect yourself and get the flu vaccine

There is no vaccine for COVID-19 yet, but there is one for the flu. While the flu vaccination won’t prevent COVID-19, it has a few indirect benefits:

  • It reduces the risk of influenza co-infections which make the conditions much worse.
  • It will help lower the burden on an overstretched health system with people presenting with nonspecific symptoms.

On 18 March 2020, the Prime Minister announced that in order to enter a residential aged care facility, it will be mandatory for all visitors, staff, volunteers, health practitioners and contractors to receive the current flu vaccination by 1 May 2020.

As you are aware, Bethanie Aged Care Homes are currently not accepting visitors or non-essential contractors until we are advised by the Government. This measure may well be in place beyond 1 May 2020.

If you would like to be prepared for any lifting of visitor restrictions in to our Aged Care Homes and wish to get your flu vaccination, please keep in mind that you must have evidence of this being the 2020 version of the vaccine. A 2020 flu vaccine is part of the Government requirement to comply with the 1 May 2020 deadline.

The following information from the Department of Health may help you with any questions you may have about the flu vaccination.

What is influenza?
Influenza is a highly contagious viral infection that causes widespread illness and deaths every year. Influenza viruses usually spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. People may spread the virus before they know they are infected.

Why should I get vaccinated?

Vaccination is our best defence against influenza viruses. Even fit and healthy people should get the influenza vaccine to protect themselves and help to stop the spread of influenza. Influenza vaccination prepares your immune system to fight influenza viruses. The influenza vaccine uses parts of killed viruses to create an immune response following vaccination. The immunity provided by the vaccine can protect you from becoming sick if you get exposed to influenza in the community. This immunity can also reduce the severity of illness if you do get sick.

When should I get vaccinated?

Getting vaccinated from April every year gives you the best protection in time for the peak influenza period (usually from June to September in most parts of Australia). While the Prime Minister recommends all people should stay at home, receiving medical care including the flu vaccination is an essential service. We encourage you to make an appointment in advance with your preferred vaccination provider who can determine the most practicable way to receive the flu vaccination in the current COVID-19 climate.

How long after vaccination does the vaccine take to start providing protection?

It takes up to two weeks for the vaccine to start providing protection after vaccination

Who is eligible for the free influenza vaccine under the National Immunisation Program?

The vaccine is free under the National Immunisation Program for people who are most likely to be affected by complications from influenza. This includes people aged 65 years and over, pregnant women and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

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