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Vaccination against influenza is important this year with the Australian community potentially more vulnerable to the virus.
With the easing of international and domestic public health measures arising from the COVID-19 global pandemic, a resurgence of influenza is expected in 2022, with the Australian community potentially more vulnerable to the virus this Winter.
Annual influenza vaccination is recommended for all people aged 6 months and over (unless contraindicated). The National Immunisation Program (NIP) funds influenza vaccines for people most at risk.
The public are encouraged to start to book their appointments from mid-April to ensure the best protection at the peak of the season which is usually between June and September.
Influenza can be a very serious disease. To protect yourself and others from the flu, you should get vaccinated every year.
The Australian Government Department of Health has provided the below resources which provide information about getting vaccinated against influenza in 2022, including information on:
Click on image to download or download here
This fact sheet, in English, explains that people at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 should get an additional COVID-19 vaccine booster dose called a 'winter dose'.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has developed advice for immunisation providers regarding the administration of 2022 seasonal influenza vaccines.
It includes information about:
As the public health measures are eased in WA, it has been highlighted that we may see a steady rise in the Influenza rates this year. Some of the most vulnerable patients in our communities will be at high risk of contracting the flu. This year it is even more important to get the flu vaccine and practices may consider looking at how they will deliver their flu vaccine program in 2022 and ensure they are not missing any of their patients that fall into the high-risk category. A poster identifying who is eligible for a FREE Flu vaccine and many other resources are available at Department of Health.
The PIP QI Incentive rewards practices for participating in continuous Quality Improvement activities in partnership and with the support of their local Primary Health Network. There are ten specified Quality Improvement measures (QIM) to assist practices meeting their requirements for PIP QI, three of which are listed below and directly related to immunisation against flu.
4. Proportion of patients aged 65 and over who were immunised against influenza.
5. Proportion of patients with diabetes who were immunised against influenza.
6. Proportion of patients with COPD who were immunised against influenza.
General practices sharing unidentified patient data with WA Primary Health Alliance or their local PHN, have been provided access to the Pen CS suite of tools. Using Pen CS practices can access recipes to identify various cohorts of patients and patient groups to assist with their Quality Improvement activities.
Should you require any assistance, please contact Practice Assist 1800 2 ASSIST (277 478) or firstname.lastname@example.org and our friendly team will put you in touch with your QI coach and Navigator who will be more than happy to support your practice.
Dr Aleeta explains why you should get a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose.
Please be reminded that a COVID-19 vaccine can be co-administered with other vaccines, including an influenza vaccine and routine childhood and adolescent vaccines, if required. There have been reports of families being advised to book separate appointments for COVID-19 and other vaccines.
ATAGI advises that there are no minimum intervals between COVID-19 vaccination and other routine vaccination (i.e. HPV, dTpa, or meningococcal ACWY vaccines) on the basis that the benefits of ensuring timely vaccination to protect from vaccine-preventable diseases outweigh any potential risks associated with immunogenicity, local adverse reactions, or fever.
When co-administering a COVID-19 vaccine and another vaccine, it is recommended to administer the vaccine in different limbs.
For more information on the clinical recommendations for COVID-19 vaccines, visit the Australian Government Department of Health website.
See useful patient resources here
As the WA health sector responds to the increase of COVID-19 infections in the community, GP Respiratory Clinics (GPRCs) are available to see your symptomatic or COVID positive patients (both adults and children) face-to-face and via telehealth. GPRCs provide assessment and management for COVID-19, and are not just testing centres. They can follow up with COVID-19 positive patients who require clinical support.
This may be a good option if your practice cannot see them safely, reducing the risk of infection to staff and other patients. It also provides an option for COVID-19 positive telehealth patients that you think may need a face-to-face examination that cannot be done at your practice
Read more and book an appointment here
In preparation for flu season the HealthPathways WA team is currently undertaking a review of the following pathways within the immunisation suite:
There are several webinars and online modules available to update providers on the 2022 influenza immunisation program.
Presented by WA Primary Health Alliance and Metropolitan Communicable Disease Control (MCDC)
Join us for the return of our popular Immunisation Update for general practice staff.
More information here
On Wednesday 23 March 2022, the Immunisation Program, Communicable Disease Control Directorate, Department of Health hosted the ‘2022 WA Influenza Update’ for all immunisation providers in WA.
This webinar, held on 2nd May, is for general practitioners/primary care providers. The panel provide key updates and answer the questions of participants on COVID-19 and influenza preventions and treatments.
The webinar recording can be viewed here