Talk to your doctor
The Federal Government has mandated all aged care providers to offer workers the flu vaccine. It is not mandatory, however, for staff to accept the offer of the vaccine.
The new policy is based on research showing strong links between aged care staff immunisation levels and flu outbreaks. Last year, only 3.5% of nursing homes had the recommended number of staff vaccinated against the flu.
There were also over 1,100 influenza-associated deaths in Australia. The majority of these deaths, 90%, were people aged over 65 years.
If people over 65 years catch the flu, they are at greater risk of severe illness and complications that require hospitalisation.
Influenza is a serious illness that is often confused with the common cold. They are however, caused by different bugs and have different effects on the body. The flu is much more dangerous.
The National Immunisation Program provides vaccines free of charge for people over 65 years. There are two new ‘enhanced’ vaccines being offered this year to people aged over 65 which are more effective than the standard vaccine.
If you are over 65, talk to your doctor about the free vaccine and make sure you are protected this flu season.