GPs best for flu jab: AMA


anaphlaxis: hand holding vaccine

GPs can offer the best advice and support for flu vaccinations, the AMA says as it calls for people to start getting immunised

The Australian Medical Association has reissued its annual call urging all Australians to get their seasonal flu vaccination now, delivered by a general practictioner

“Last year we saw record flu vaccinations, which was fantastic. We need to do the same again this year. The message is simple: get your flu vaccine now,” said AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid in a statement released late last week.

“Getting the flu shot now will better protect you from the serious prospect of having both COVID-19 and influenza at the same time. It is the only safe, proven, and tested way of not becoming an influenza statistic.

“Your family GP is best placed to advise you on the different formulations and to help you plan your flu shot around your COVID-19 vaccine,” Dr Khorshid said. 

He also emphasised that GPs were best placed to advise people on the timing of COVID-19 and flu vaccines.

“Current guidelines stipulate a 14-day gap between a flu shot and a COVID-19 vaccination and GPs can help patients understand which one they should get first”.

Recently, in Pharmacy Guild newsletter Forefront, Guild national executive director Suzanne Greenwood writes that with COVID-19 still posing a threat, “the need to be vaccinated against the flu is more important than ever”.

“The majority of Australians who are not currently eligible for their COVID-19 vaccination until Phase 2 should now get their flu vaccination,” writes Ms Greenwood.

“This becomes our key message to all our patients: while you are waiting to get your COVID-19 vaccination, come into your local pharmacy and get your flu shot.”

She warns that the Guild has received feedback, and seen on social media, that many people do not believe they need a flu vaccine this year.

“But each vaccine is very specific and cannot be substituted for the other,” she says.

“This lack of consumer engagement of the need for the flu shot is in stark contrast to the effectiveness of the flu vaccine itself.

Go here for our most recent story covering the latest advice on immunisation dose timing

While some pharmacies will already have received stock and begun vaccinating, the TGA issued advice that there is a new A (H1N1)-like virus strain and a new A (H3N2)-like virus strain when compared to the composition of quadrivalent vaccines for Australia in 2020.

The egg-based quadrivalent influenza vaccines contain the following four viral strains:

  • an A/Victoria/2570/2019 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
  • an A/Hong Kong/2671/2019 (H3N2)-like virus;
  • a B/Washington/02/2019 (B/Victoria lineage)-like virus; and
  • a B/Phuket/3073/2013 (B/Yamagata lineage)-like virus.

The composition of trivalent influenza vaccines is recommended to include the H1N1, H3N2 and the B Victoria lineage virus.

Cell-based quadrivalent influenza vaccines contain the following four viral strains:

  • an A/Wisconsin/588/2019 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
  • an A/Hong Kong/45/2019 (H3N2)-like virus;
  • a B/Washington/02/2019 (B/Victoria lineage)-like virus; and
  • a B/Phuket/3073/2013 (B/Yamagata lineage)-like virus.

The TGA highlighted ATAGI advice that routine scheduling and giving of an influenza vaccine with a COVID-19 vaccine on the same day is not recommended.

 

 

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