A shot in the arm for health professionals

A shot in the arm for health professionals

08 May 2014

In the interest of keeping the community well and healthy, Northern Sydney Medicare Local frontline staff today pulled up their sleeve for their annual flu vaccination.

Dr James Baker (pictured), Director of Health Services, Research & Training at Northern Sydney Medicare Local was one of the many employees, working at the not-for-profit health organisation, who volunteered to have the jab.

As a health professional working in the interest of community health, its essential that I do all that I can to keep myself from catching the flu virus and in doing so stopping its spread, said Dr Baker.

Adults aged over 65 years and other high-risk community members who have yet to have the vaccine only have a few more weeks, before winter begins, to visit their GP and discuss the appropriateness of having a flu vaccine.

Each year, the call for vaccination against the newest strain of influenza starts in March.

Anybody aged over six months can receive the flu vaccine from a GP or authorised nurse immuniser.

Northern Sydney Medicare Locals Immunisation Taskforce Chairperson, Ms Cynthia Stanton said, The vaccine can take up to two weeks to work, so its best to vaccinate as early as possible, continued Ms Stanton.

Should the flu strike, because it is a virus and not an infection caused by bacteria, antibiotics are unable to assist in the treatment.

Prevention, through vaccination, provides the best chance of not getting the flu virus so
visit your GP or authorised Nurse Immuniser today, concluded Ms Stanton.

High-risk members of the community include:
- People aged 65 years and over
- Pregnant women
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over
- Anyone aged 6 months and over who has a chronic condition placing them at increased risk of complications from influenza. The vaccine is provided free to these groups.

What is the Flu?
Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is caused by a virus that infects the respiratory
system and mainly spreads from person to person through the air by coughing, sneezing or talking, and by touching a persons hands, surface or object.

High-risk groups need to be extra vigilant against the virus as complications, including
bronchitis, croup and pneumonia can lead to hospitalisation, and in some cases even death.

The flu can also make underlying medical conditions worse.

Facts about Influenza
  • Flu is caused by a virus, so antibiotics cannot help. Antibiotics only work against
  • bacterial infections.
  • Over 18,000 hospitalisations each year are attributed to influenza
  • Influenza causes more deaths than road accidents in Australia. There are between 1500 and 3500 deaths annually as a result of the flu
  • The influenza vaccine is safe for pregnant women and provides protection for themselves and their new born baby for the first six months after birth
  • Vaccines need to be given each year, because the influenza viruses are always changing
  • Influenza vaccine do not contain any live viruses and therefore cannot cause the illness
  • Anyone can contract influenza. Being fit and healthy does not protect against infection
A free influenza vaccine is available for:
  • All Australians aged 65 and over
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who are aged 15 years or over
  • All pregnant women
  • All Australians aged 6 months of age and over with medical conditions that can lead to severe influenza