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Health insurer HBF is urging West Australians to take advantage of the State Government’s free flu vaccination offer as statistics show notifications in WA for March and April are the highest they have been during these months in the past six years.
Throughout May, everyone in WA can receive a free flu vaccine to protect themselves over the peak influenza period.
HBF Medical Director Dr Andy Papa-Adams said while the flu season typically ran from June to October, there were signs it may have already begun.
“The rate of influenza notifications to the Department of Health was 71% higher in March and 26% higher in April this year than the highest rate reported in the same months in the preceding six years,” he said.
“Flu is different to a cold and can have significant complications, even in people who are normally well.
“When you get vaccinated, you not only protect yourself but also those around you who are more vulnerable such as babies and children, the elderly, women who are pregnant, and anyone with reduced immunity.”
He reiterated that COVID-19 remained a serious health issue despite government regulations and restrictions easing significantly across the country.
“It’s now three years since the pandemic was declared and with international travel resuming and life returning to relative normalcy, it’s easy to overlook the importance of protecting yourself and others through vaccination,” he said.
“It’s also important to note that having your COVID-19 booster does not cover you for flu and vice versa.
“You can have flu and COVID-19 at the same time and evidence suggests this makes people sicker than having either virus on its own.
“Given a number of those who contract influenza will end up in hospital, it’s important we do as much as we can to reduce the number of hospital admissions this winter and ensure beds are free for those who need it due to other illnesses. HBF strongly urges people to receive their flu vaccine at the same time as their COVID-19 booster if they are due for the booster – Federal Government advice is that co-administration is safe and produces a good immune response.”
The WA Government is the first in Australia to offer free flu vaccinations ahead of the 2023 flu season. More information is available here.
HBF Media Contact: Lauren Underhill, HBF Corporate Affairs,
0438 925 050 / CorporateAffairs@hbf.com.au
HBF was founded more than 80 years ago in Perth and has provided private health insurance to generations of Western Australians. HBF has expanded to become Australia's second largest not-for-profit health fund, providing hospital and ancillary insurance to approximately 1.1 million members nationwide. HBF is also becoming a more active participant in health services through the recent acquisition of physiotherapy business Life Ready, ongoing expansion of HBF Dental, its partnership with TerryWhite Chemmart outside of WA, and an ongoing alliance with Pharmacy 777 in WA. HBF is committed to actively connecting with and supporting the communities in which it operates as a trusted member-based organisation. Visit hbf.com.au
Department of Health Influenza Notifications January 2018 to April 2023
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