Immunisation Coalition urging people with flu-like symptoms to get tested and treated

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Australia is currently experiencing a severe Influenza season, and the Immunisation Coalition is urging people to get vaccinated or visit their GP to be tested and access treatment if they are experiencing flu-like symptoms.

The Immunisation Coalition is a not-for-profit advocacy group with a mission to create awareness about the importance of immunisation.

“Influenza B is surging throughout Australia and for the thousands of people who intended to get vaccinated and are now showing symptoms, it is simply too late. It is critical for people who have just developed Influenza to reach out urgently to their GP for antiviral treatment,” said Professor Robert Booy.

The Queensland government recently announced a program to provide free flu vaccinations for residents of the state aged over six months. The National Immunisation Program funds the flu vaccination for children under five, and for any person considered to be at higher risk of complications

Professor Booy said antivirals for treatment of influenza can be very effective but must be taken within 48 hours of symptoms, so it is important to see a GP as soon as possible.

"We need to reduce the amount of influenza circulating in the community. Low vaccination rates mean we must adopt our second line of defence - antiviral medications,” said Kim Sampson, CEO of the Immunisation Coalition.  

The Immunisation Coalition also urged Australians who are unprotected against influenza to get their flu vaccination as soon as possible. 

“It is still our first line of defence, and the most effective way to prevent influenza”. “But if you are already experiencing flu-like symptoms, you may be too late for the vaccine - so see your GP about antiviral medications,” said Mr Sampson.

Influenza A strain is typically the most common strain that circulates. Yet it is Influenza B that appears to be causing severe illness and hospitalisation in younger people around the country, which is putting pressure on the healthcare system.