Less than half of Australians plan to get flu vaccine despite spike in illness in Perth

Less than half of Australians plan to get flu vaccine despite spike in illness in Perth

One in two Australians does not plan to vaccinate against influenza this year despite high diagnoses in 2017, a new poll shows, despite a spike in cases in Perth this year.

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About 55 per cent of Aussies don’t intend to vaccinate before the upcoming flu season, a poll commissioned by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia has found.

The survey of 1000 people also revealed Australian adults are often misinformed about the virus, which kills about 3,000 people across the nation each year.

Around three out of four people (77 per cent) aren’t aware the disease can remain active when airborne for more than 45 minutes, the poll released on Tuesday showed.

It has also found more than half (57 per cent) of Australians mistakenly think they are at a low risk of contracting the flu.

Pharmacy Guild of Australia president George Tambassis said the flu virus can affect even fit and healthy people, and vaccinating against the disease is the best way for people to protect not only themselves but the broader community.

“Flu vaccinations promote community immunity,” Mr Tambassis said in a statement on Tuesday.

“If enough people are vaccinated against the infection, they can help protect those unable to be vaccinated, including immunocompromised/sick, or very young infants.”

NSW recorded more than 100,000 cases of influenza notifications last flu season – one of the busiest since the 2009 pandemic.

Almost one in two baby boomers were vaccinated last year while less than a third of millennials had the jab, the guild’s survey showed.

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