Town halls in Sydney and Melbourne will host free influenza vaccination clinics as health authorities warn Australians to prepare for flu season.
The flu has been less prominent in the past two years as restrictions targeting COVID-19 curtailed movement, but with curbs ending around the country a surge in influenza infections is expected.
Research commissioned by vaccine advocacy group the Immunisation Coalition found just 35 per cent of adults under 65 planned to have a flu shot this year, despite 73 per cent expecting this year’s season to be worse than 2020 and 2021.
The group is hosting free flu vaccination clinics for people under 65 on Friday at Melbourne and Sydney Town Halls with support from the St Vincent’s Mobile Immunisation and Health Service.
“The latest research shows that people are aware that we could be in for a bad flu season but that’s not translating to people booking a vaccination appointment with their GP or pharmacist,” Immunisation Coalition member Robert Booy said.
More people die due to flu than in the annual road toll in a typical influenza season, and immunity has likely decreased due to a lack of exposure over the last two years, the coalition’s chair Rod Pearce said.
It’s important for adults and children alike to get vaccinated, with younger and older Australians at higher risk of flu-related complications, he added.
A severe flu season could also exacerbate ongoing workforce and supply chain issues.
The Australian College of Nursing has also called on Australians to ensure their vaccinations are up to date.
“As the colder months loom, now is the time to get vaccinated to ensure you and your loved ones are protected,” ACN chief executive Kylie Ward said.