Thursday, 16 April 2020

GPs Concerned Older Patients Have Not Received Best Vaccine in Leadup to Flu Season

BY DAKOTA TAIT

The Hunter General Practitioners Association has expressed concern many elderly patients have not received the appropriate influenza vaccine leading up to this year's flu season.

Fluad Quad, a boosted vaccine designed with those aged 65 and older in mind, is accessible at most general practices - but has not been made available to pharmacies or other vaccination providers.

While the standard vaccine will still help them against influenza, Dr Lee Fong says it is essential older and more vulnerable members of the community are able to access the special vaccine.

"It's important that people who are over the age of 65 are aware that there is a specific vaccine that is intended for them, that gives them better protection, and that they should go to their general practice to get it."

Despite social distancing measures and the ongoing COVID-19 infection risk, Dr Fong says eligible patients should not be afraid to get in contact with their general practitioner to receive the vaccination.

"General practices are working very hard to keep people with respiratory illnesses out of the waiting room," said Dr Fong. "The general practice environment, I would suggest, is at least as safe as any other environment, including pharmacies."

But Dr Fong says there is no need for those finding it difficult to access the vaccination to be too concerned at the moment.

"At this point in time, influenza is not circulating in very high levels. We've got a bit of time up our sleeve - still get it done as soon as you can, but don't worry if you can't get it straight away."

Image credit: Hunter General Practitioners Association

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