In May, just five months into the year, there had already been close to 43,000 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza across Australia. This is an alarming statistic on its own, but when compared with the fact that there were 59,000 cases overall in the year 2018, the extreme severity of the 2019 flu season becomes obvious.
As flu season usually spans from June to September, with the peak of the season in August, now is a good time to consider getting the flu shot. Getting vaccinated is the best chance for protection against the flu for yourself and for those around you who are not able to be vaccinated, like babies under six months.
In 2019, over six million doses of the vaccine will be provided at no cost to eligible people through the government funded National Immunisation Program. Eligible people include those aged 65 and over, all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people six months and older, any people aged six months and older who suffer from certain conditions that make them more susceptible to contracting the flu, and pregnant women. For those not eligible for the free vaccine, the flu shot is available through pharmacies and GPs for between $10 to $25.
Most people develop their immunity within two to three weeks of having their vaccination, so there’s no time like the present if you want to do your bit to beat the flu.