Severe flu season warning

Severe flu season warning

Flashback: Byford resident Olive receiving the COVID vaccine in 2021

Medical experts are warning that low vaccination rates and a surge of flu cases across the country could create the perfect storm for a severe flu year.

As of June 1, less than half of all WA residents over the age of 65 have had a flu shot, according to the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance. This is the lowest figure of any state around the country.

Only 20.9 percent of Western Australians aged 50 to 65 had gotten the flu jab, and 11.7 percent of those between 15 and 50. These figures, again, are statistically the lowest in the country.

As of 8 May, only 43.2 percent of residents nationwide had received a COVID booster dose in the previous six months, with the federal chief medical officer Professor Paul Kelly raising concern at the “disappointingly low” rates of vaccination in aged care facilities.

Lung Foundation Australia is urging people to get to their GP or pharmacy to get their flu and COVID shots, with a wave of serious winter illnesses starting to build around the country.

“This virus is continuing to kill older Australians at a rate of knots. It’s putting hundreds of people into hospital each week, and many of these cases could be avoided with protection through a simple shot,” Lung Foundation Australia CEO Mark Brooke said.

“We need the community to act now, and help keep themselves and their loved ones healthy this cold and flu season.

“The next few weeks are forming into a really critical turning point to get immunisation levels up. At the moment they are far too low and this is putting the health and wellbeing of all Australians at risk.

“We can turn that around if people take vaccination recommendations seriously.”