Australia is bracing for a spate of flu amidst the common cold and Covid cases as experts say vaccination is “not at the center of people’s minds”.
Australia is bracing for a nationwide triple threat this winter as health experts warn residents of a flu surge between common flu and Covid-19 cases.
A new report released on Monday revealed that Australia has recorded nearly 3,000 cases of influenza so far this year – the highest number of reports since 2019.
The 2022 flu report card highlighted the country’s low flu vaccination rate, which represents only 11% of the population.
Infectious disease expert Robert Booy told NCA NewsWire that both the flu and Covid were highly contagious viral infections that could lead to serious illness, hospitalization or even death.
Professor Booy said community immunity was low after the pandemic, with each flu season having a different impact.
“We expect that as travel resumes globally, flu strains will also travel and infection rates will increase, sOr we’ll have a surge this year,He said.
“Our community is not used to dealing with the flu virus, so their immunity level has dropped.”
Queenslanders have been warned of a “significant surge” – a potentially deadly combination of the flu and Covid.
Chief Health Officer John Gerrard said more than 800 cases of the flu have been reported in Queensland, most of them in the past three weeks.
“In Queensland last year there were only 296 confirmed cases of influenza in the whole of 2021. By comparison, this year we have seen more than 800 cases of influenza in Queensland: in the past three weeks the number of influenza cases has doubled. every week for the past three weeks, ”said Dr. Gerrard.
He said clinical evidence suggested that infection with both viruses was more severe than any virus alone.
“We have seen more than a dozen combined infections and a number of these people have been hospitalized,” he said.
During the last flu season in Australia in 2019, more than 950 people died, including a one-year-old baby. At least 378 Australians between the ages of one and 100 died of the flu in 2018.
More than 886 cases of influenza have been recorded in Victoria this year, hundreds of them in recent days.
This figure is up 10% from 2021 data.
Chief medical officer Brett Sutton said the Victorians have missed two flu seasons “and it’s probably not at the center of people’s minds.”
“All I can say is don’t wait for those flu stories to arise, it will be too late,” he said.
Children under five are considered to be at high risk and eligible for free vaccination, but only 3% of this age group is vaccinated against the flu.
Only 30% of Australians over the age of 65 received the government-funded flu vaccine.