Inner North West Melbourne Medicare Local today offered flu vaccinations with a cup of coffee and a couple of biscuits for $12, as it held its second Vaccination Café.
The Café, held to coincide with World Immunology Day today, featured two large marquees set up with tables and chairs, plus “lots of resources from the Influenza Specialist group, Department of Immunology and more,” Inner North West Melbourne Medicare Local CEO Associate Professor Christopher Carter told the AJP. A nurse immuniser is administering all vaccines.
“The vaccination café concept was originally launched in Adelaide, and this is the second year in Melbourne,” he says.
“The café format is a great opportunity to increase people’s awareness of Influenza, immunise opportunistically and the cost is very reasonable.
“Many people struggle to find the time to get vaccinated, but a bad case of the flu can put you out of action for weeks,” A/Prof Carter says.
“With the Vaccination Café right in the heart of the city office workers and visitors will have the chance to get protected, caffeinated and educated on immunisation all in one go!”
A spokesperson from the Pharmacy Guild of Australia welcomed the concept.
“This is a great initiative,” he says. “Anything that heightens public awareness of the benefits of vaccination is to be encouraged and supported.
“It also goes to show that vaccinations can be delivered safely in a variety of environments, including places of work, and of course community pharmacies.”
A/Prof Carter says it’s believed there are some 1,500 to 2,500 influenza-related deaths annually in Australia.
He cited a 2007 study which showed flu caused 18,000 hospitalisations, more than 300,000 GP consultations and cost the health system at least $85 million annually. Another study estimated 1.5 million work days were lost annually in Australia to flu.
A/Prof Carter says the concept includes access to immunology information because of the importance of educating people about both the seriousness of flu, and the importance of vaccination.
“Vaccination is one of medicine’s great success stories, with hundreds of rigorous studies conclusively showing immunisation is responsible for saving millions of lives and is the safest and most effective way we can protect ourselves from infectious diseases,” he says.