Wanting to get your flu shot this season? Doctors are asking people to exercise patience.
Dr Dan Ewald practices as a GP at Lennox Head and says his clinic has been inundated with phone calls from people wanting the flu vax during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Ewald says while widespread uptake of the flu vax this year will help reduce pressure on hospitals already struggling to cope with impacts of the pandemic, the injection won’t provide immunity against COVID-19 and vaccine stock isn’t yet fully distributed.
The GP is also concerned non-urgent telephone requests for flu vaccinations are clogging lines needed to carry out newly available and recommended tele and video conference calls between doctors and patients.
Let’s avoid the toilet paper problem
‘Let’s avoid the problem of toilet paper that we had in supermarkets when it comes to flu vaccines,’ Dr Ewald told Bay FM’s Community NewsroomMonday.
‘We don’t need to actually all race in and get too anxious about it and cause problems that don’t need to be there, if we just accept that we might get the vaccine in a couple of weeks instead of this week,’ he said.
Meanwhile, Health North Coast CEO Julie Sturgess sent a media release saying physical distancing currently being practiced is already helping protect people from the spread of flu.
Dr Ewald said flu vaccinations would also be available from chemists without a GP referral, if customers were between the ages of 10 and 65 and didn’t require medical advice.
Mia Armitage is a Bay FM member
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This is another instance of mixed messages. I was advised by my GP to make sure I check by phone to check for the flu vaccine so I can have it ASAP. Now another GP implies I’d be wasting time and attention of clinic staff who are trying to set up tele-health consultations. Why suddenly are other life threatening contagious illnesses categorised as non-essential. Surely that’s what a vaccine is all about, namely stopping a pandemic. More people with flu means more people in hospital at a time when we don’t want to take up those resources. Just look at last years demand on hospital beds throughout Australia because of influenza admissions.