Authorities are warning the easing of COVID-19 restrictions will see a spike in transmissions as well as a resurgence of flu this winter.
Acting Australian Chief Medical Officer Sonya Bennett warns that flu and COVID-19 are highly contagious viruses that can lead to serious illness, or even death.
“This year’s winter season will likely see both an increase in transmission of the coronavirus and, for the first time since 2019, a resurgence in influenza,” Dr Bennett said in a statement.
Everyone aged six months and over should get a flu vaccine.
People should be aware that COVID-19 vaccines don’t provide protection against flu and flu vaccines don’t protect against COVID-19, she said.
“For this reason, it is vital people get a flu vaccine and are also up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations, including having a COVID-19 winter booster dose if they are eligible,” she said.
“If you have been sick with COVID-19, you can receive a flu vaccine as soon as you feel well.”
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation is advising flu vaccines can be safely administered at the same time as a COVID-19 vaccine.
Anyone eligible for a COVID-19 winter booster shot should check with their doctor to see if they can receive both vaccines simultaneously.
“This year we are particularly concerned about young children, as many have never been exposed to the flu virus or had a flu vaccine, and have not developed any immunity, increasing the risk of complications,” Dr Bennett said.
More than 20 million adults have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and the Australian Immunisation Register reports that more than 95 per cent of the population aged 16 or older is fully jabbed.