CANBERRA, Australia — Young people in Australia are being urged to get their flu shot as they wait to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners on April 13 recommended all people over the age of six months get their annual influenza vaccination when it becomes available this month.
They said the best time to get the vaccine is before starting the flu season, which usually peaks from June to September.
Their President, Karen Price, described the twin rollouts of COVID-19 and influenza vaccines as an “enormous logistical exercise”, especially as the two vaccines are not recommended to be given at the same time.
“I have every confidence that general practice is up to the task. Vaccines are business as usual for General Practitioners,” she said in a statement.
“But we do need a different approach to get the job done.”
The institution is urging people in later phases of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout to get their flu shot as soon as it is available and then get their COVID-19 vaccine.
“If you’re young and healthy, you might think you should be standing back and waiting for the most vulnerable patients to get their flu shots first,” Price said.
“In fact, we want these patients to do the opposite. Please book an appointment with your General Practitioner to get your flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available, and then get your COVID-19 vaccine when you can.
“Patients who are more vulnerable, including those who are older, should prioritize getting their COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is offered to them.”
More than 4500 general practices are taking part in Phase 1b of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, which has been thrown into disarray after a change in medical advice for the AstraZeneca jab.
The federal government had planned for every Australian to be offered at least their first dose of the vaccine by the end of October, with most receiving the AstraZeneca jab.
But that timeline has been scrapped after the federal government was advised those under 50 should not get the vaccine because of blood clotting concerns.
The influenza vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine should be administered at least 14-days apart, according to clinical advice.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners is the professional body for general practitioners in Australia. The organization is responsible for maintaining standards for quality clinical practice, education and training, and research in Australian general practice.
(Edited by Amrita Das and Ritaban Misra)
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