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Health authorities urge people to get their flu shot this year

Experts are cautious that hospitals may become strained especially if a new COVID wave occurs with the new BA.4 and BA.5 variants coincides with a Flu resurgence.

With life slowly starting to get back to normal, experts are warning that the flu will return with vengeance this winter after cases were at some of the lowest levels thanks to COVID-19 restrictions.

QLD/NSW Border (6News)
QLD/NSW Border (6News)

Now, with our domestic international borders reopening, it’s likely we'll see more influenza cases during this possibly dangerous winter, as COVID restrictions begin to withdraw and people start to get life back to normal. Victoria is already in grips of this season. In a few days alone, they’ve recorded more cases than in the whole of last year. Last year there was not 1 case recorded nationally in Australia until August. In 2021, there were only around 600 confirmed flu cases according to the National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System.

This year 1,024 cases have been recorded in the first 4 months and authorities are warning that it may get worse with a mix of COVID. Pressure on the hospital system is likely if cases reach the same levels as 2019.

"We're prepared for the worst-case scenario of flu and COVID coming together," Health Minister Greg Hunt said.

Authorities right across the country are warning us to continue to practise simple hygiene methods, such as regularly washing our hands and getting the influenza jab this year, our best defence against this virus, is available to everyone and free to those who are considered vulnerable. They include:

  • Children aged 6 months to less than 5 years

  • All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over

  • People aged 6 months and over with certain medical conditions that increase their chance of severe influenza and its complications

  • Pregnant women (at any stage during pregnancy)

  • People aged 65 years and over.

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