July 25 2022
A successful celebration of cultural awareness and inclusiveness supported by a PHN NAIDOC Week 2022 grant has prompted Namoi Medical Services to think bigger and better for the future.
Posted April 03, 2023
The start, length and severity of influenza seasons vary and are often unpredictable.
It’s anticipated that community immunity will be less than in pre-COVID times. That's because of fewer influenza infections during COVID restrictions plus lower influenza vaccine uptake in recent years. Only about 40 per cent of those eligible were vaccinated against influenza in 2022, according to the Australian Immunisation Register database.
The severity of the coming Australian influenza season will be influenced by the types of influenza virus circulating, when the surge starts and when the season peaks. The effectiveness, uptake and timing of vaccinations and the degree of remaining herd immunity will all be important.
Data from the northern hemisphere flu season during winter 2022/2023 indicates that the influenza vaccine was well matched with the circulating viruses. Historically, this matching data from northern hemisphere's experience can be seen as a good indicator for the Australian setting.
Information and resources are available to assist providers with the management, promotion and implementation of the 2023 flu vaccines.
Providers are encouraged to download and review the NSW Health Influenza Vaccination Provider Toolkit
NSW Health advise that the administration of flu vaccines commence from April onwards to provide protection for the peak of influenza season, which is generally June to September.
Providers are reminded that ATAGI have advised that a COVID-19 vaccination and an influenza vaccination can be administered at the same time. These services may be provided during the same attendance. While a medical practitioner is not required under law to bulk-bill an attendance for influenza vaccination, a patient who also receives a COVID-19 booster vaccination as part of the same occasion of care must be bulk billed for the MBS COVID-19 vaccine suitability assessment component of the overall service. See Medicare factsheet.
NSW Health advised that they are not distributing posters and brochures to practices, but will include a small flu flyer and 2023 basket stickers with the first influenza vaccine delivery.
Sites need to order additional resources via the Better Health Centre using this form: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/Influenza/Documents/influenza-publications-order-form.pdf
First Nations people are more likely to develop severe influenza disease that could be prevented by vaccination. NCIRS has developed resources to support vaccination providers to have culturally appropriate conversations supporting First Nations patients in their decision making. Talking about flu vaccination with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families_17March2023.pdf (ncirs.org.au)
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