South West health experts call for flu shot

Ailish DelaneyBunbury Herald
Flu vaccine restock last year.
Camera IconFlu vaccine restock last year. Credit: Tori O'Connor/Kalgoorlie Miner

With flu season fast approaching and overlapping the COVID-19 pandemic, health experts are urging South West residents to get a flu vaccine.

Seasonal influenza is highly contagious and last year resulted in 3224 hospital admissions and 80 deaths in WA, according to the Department of Health.

Bunbury pharmacist Sepehr Shafizadeh said the vaccine helped protect people who were at risk of serious complications if they contracted the flu.

“When you get the flu your immune system can become weak and then you are more susceptible to the coronavirus,” he said.

People with chronic illness, for example diabetes, if they get the flu because their immune system is more suppressed they are at increased risk of mortality because of the flu .

Sepehr Shafizadeh

Mr Shafizadeh said staying at home in self-isolation would help decrease the spread of the flu.

Brecken Health Care Bunbury managing director and general practitioner Brenda Murrison said people should get the flu vaccine to reduce transmission and keep the pressure off hospitals.

“If somebody were to get influenza and COVID-19 at the same time they’d be fighting two different viruses making it much more difficult to get well quickly,” Ms Murrison said.

The more people that get their flu vaccine no matter what age they are the better.

Brenda Murrison

Health Minister Roger Cook said it had never been more important to get the flu vaccine and protect WA families.

“These vaccinations are really important right now as we expect to see seasonal influenza overlap with the COVID-19 virus,” Mr Cook.

“It can help reduce the number of patients needing tests and care — relieving the pressure on our health system and hospitals.”

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