Health officials; get flu vaccine now, avoid sickness later

“The more people in our community that are getting the flu shot, the less the flu will come through our community and harm those we are most anxious about” Campos said.

“We’re probably past the peak but that doesn’t mean that there still isn’t a lot of flu going around”, said Deputy Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton.

A 14-year-old Queenslander remains in hospital fighting for life after she contracted a severe case of the flu.

Influenza A (H3N2) is the flu subtype wreaking the most havoc.

Australian Medial Association vice-president Dr Tony Bartone said influenza viruses rapidly evolved, making it hard to develop protective vaccines against them.

Numerous viruses are shape-shifters and constantly undergo changes to evade the body’s defences leading to outbreaks.

However, Dr Bartone said Australians weren’t defenceless against the epidemic.

Australia now has a vaccination rate of 20 per cent or only one in five people.

Public Health England (PHE) says it has no plans to revise the 2017-18 winter flu vaccination campaign in spite of figures revealing that last year’s campaign was not effective among its principle targets, the over-65s.

“Influenza can easily spread, however, it’s not the virus, but the secondary complications that follow which result in death”, he said.

Community pharmacists administered over 950,000 of the 10 million flu vaccinations given to patients in England last winter, but provisional estimates by PHE show that for all age groups combined, the vaccine effectiveness against influenza A and B was 39.8% (85% confidence interval [CI]: 23.1 to 52.8). If your kids are younger than 6 months, then all of the people around them should get it. “If it creates significant infection, even under the best care, the possibility for serious complications is still there”.

Dr Bartone said the very early flu symptoms are quite similar to that of the common cold.

However, he urged anyone who was having difficultly controlling a fever over a prolonged period of time or in unbearable pain to seek medical help.

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