Doc­tors urge flu vac­ci­na­tion as sea­son hits

The Gazette (Derwent Valley) - - NEWS - NIKITA McGUIRE and AAP Nikita McGuire is a UTAS jour­nal­ism stu­dent.

DOC­TORS are wor­ried that too many peo­ple who are el­i­gi­ble for free flu vac­ci­na­tions are not tak­ing up the of­fer.

Dr Ralph Peters, who prac­tises in the Der­went Val­ley area, said it was im­por­tant for peo­ple to get vac­ci­na­tions as they are the best de­fence to ward off ill­ness.

“The ear­lier peo­ple get the vac­ci­na­tion the bet­ter off they are in not be­ing af­fected by the flu,” he said.

Dr Peters en­cour­aged those who had not al­ready been vac­ci­nated to geta flu shot.

“The el­derly and those with chest and breath­ing prob­lems, such as smok­ers, are most at risk and should get a vac­ci­na­tion,” he said.

As Aus­tralia suf­fers its worst flu sea­son in 15 years, fewer than 30 per cent of preg­nant women and only one in 10 chil­dren have been im­mu­nised, it has been claimed.

Preg­nant women and chil­dren aged over six months with med­i­cal con­di­tions that can lead to com­pli­ca­tions from the flu — such as se­vere asthma, lung or heart dis­ease, chronic neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­ease, re­nal and meta­bolic dis­ease, and im­paired im­mu­nity — are el­i­gi­ble for a free flu shot.

Peo­ple aged 65 years and over are also el­i­gi­ble for the free jab shot, as are most indige­nous Aus­tralians and those who suf­fer from chronic con­di­tions.

“With flu vac­ci­na­tions avail­able for as low as $11, I en­cour­age all Aus­tralians to talk to their doc­tor about get­ting a shot each year,” said Fed­eral Health Min­is­ter Greg Hunt.

“The Govern­ment pro­vides free vac­cines to chil­dren against a range of vac­cine-pre­ventable dis­eases such as against per­tus­sis, ro­tavirus and measles, mumps and rubella.”

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