"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Too many Australians will not be getting the flu vaccine. Why, and what can we do about it?

Australia's childhood immunization program has seen great growth yearly – About 94 percent of five-year-olds They have had all their routine vaccinations. But our influenza vaccine coverage doesn't get such report card.

Looking back. Recent yearsFor children six months to 5 years of age, we observed flu vaccine coverage peak at 46% initially of the COVID pandemic, which then declined to 30% by the 2023 season.

While we're still relatively early within the 2024 flu season. 7% children So far this 12 months, fewer than five have gotten a flu shot.

Although young children are a selected concern, flu vaccination rates for the population as a complete look like low. Reports say. From March 1 to April 2816% fewer people were vaccinated against flu in comparison with the identical period last 12 months.

So what's happening, and what can we do to extend uptake?

Why can we vaccinate children against the flu?

last 12 months, Cases of flu were reported Children aged five to nine years had the best rate, followed by children aged zero to 4 years. This isn’t a brand new phenomenon – we record numerous flu cases and hospitalizations in children yearly. So far this year Children aged zero to 4 had the best variety of infections, barely ahead of kids aged five to nine.

Although children usually tend to catch and spread the flu, also they are at the next risk of getting sick from it. This especially applies to children under five years of age, and the flu vaccine is accessible freed from charge for this age group.

The flu vaccine isn't perfect – it may't completely prevent infections – nevertheless it's definitely our greatest likelihood of protection. Research has shown that GPs had influenza-related seizures. More than half in vaccinated children in comparison with unvaccinated children.

Children are vulnerable to the flu.
David Angelini/Shutterstock

So why aren't children vaccinated?

Often, this comes from misunderstandings about who’s eligible for the vaccine or for whom it is suggested. But we are able to solve this problem. A text message reminder.

Some parents Report concerns About the vaccine, including the old belief that it could cause the flu. Flu vaccine Can't give you the flu Because it doesn’t contain live virus. Unfortunately, that myth is admittedly sticky.

of the Some parentsmay forget to book a challenge or access an appointment.

It's not only children who’re at high risk.

Adults age 65 and older are also at higher risk for the flu, and will get one. Free vaccine. For this group, we normally move around. 65% vaccinated. So far this 12 months, About 35 percent People over the age of 65 have received the flu vaccine.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals are also eligible without spending a dime flu vaccines. Although previously coverage rates were higher amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than the final population, this gap has narrowed. Even the rear has some movement, notably In younger age groups.

The flu vaccine is free for pregnant women and anyone. A medical condition Such as heart disease, chronic lung disease, diabetes or kidney disease.

Past studies have found flu vaccine coverage. For pregnant women National coverage varies from 39% to 76% (meaning as much as 60% of pregnant women will not be vaccinated in some jurisdictions). When it involves adults with chronic health conditions, we don't know exactly how many individuals get vaccinated.

An elderly woman was sitting on the sofa, wrapped in a blanket and looking at the thermometer.
Older adults are more susceptible to the flu than younger adults.
Studio Romantic / Shutterstock

Flu vaccines for adults don’t all the time overlap with those for kids. Often Concerns about side effects Reasons for not being vaccinated are given, followed by time constraints.

We know too. Access to medical services It could also be difficult for some people, equivalent to those living in rural areas or those experiencing financial difficulties.

Filling the gap

In Australia, GPs offer the flu vaccine for all ages, while the flu vaccine for people aged five years and over can also be available from pharmacies.

While some people make a conscious decision to not vaccinate themselves or their children, for a lot of, barriers are related to access.

Programs offering vaccinations outside the doctor's office are growing globally, and may help. Filling the gapEspecially amongst those that don’t have regular access to a GP.

For some, their only point of contact The medical system May occur during emergency department visits. Others can have more regular contact with a. expert who coordinates their medical care reasonably than a GP.

Providing vaccine education and programs In these settings It has been shown to enhance immunization rates and will play a vital role in bridging the access gap.

A male customer is talking to a female pharmacist.  Both are smiling.
Flu vaccines can be found through many pharmacies.
Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

Outside of medical and pharmacy settings, the workplace is essentially the most common place for Australian adults to receive the flu vaccine. Oh Survey Australian adults have been shown to search out workplace vaccinations convenient and cost-effective, particularly where free or subsidized vaccines are offered.

Enhancing vaccination settings, with e.g Drive through and mobile clinics, can profit groups which have unique access barriers or are underserved. Meanwhile, uptake has improved amongst those offering vaccinations through faith-based organizations. Ethnic and racial minority groups.