St.LukesHealth urges Tasmania to vaccinate against influenza

Tasmanian not-for-profit health insurer St.LukesHealth is urging the community not to be lax and vax this flu season.

While the focus has been on a virus of a different kind, the threat of an influenza outbreak is still a real possibility across the state.

As a result, St.LukesHealth will provide its members with $20 towards the 2021 influenza vaccination as a once off benefit – all that is needed is a receipt to show proof of purchase.

St.LukesHealth Head of Clinical Services Luke Cameron said with the cooler weather already here and a public hospital system under immense pressure,  it was important to put our health and the health of others first.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is vitally important that people do not miss out on receiving their vaccine to ensure they remain healthy and not to place further pressure on an overburdened health system,” Mr Cameron said.

“Influenza infections are highly contagious, and, in a hospital or aged care facility, this can lead to outbreaks, particularly for vulnerable patients and the elderly who may already have respiratory illness.

“Infections in nursing and medical staff also lead to staff shortages, which can impact service and patient care, resulting in higher health expenditures by the public purse. With the threat of COVID-19, we need to ensure we do what we can to protect ourselves, our community and our healthcare system.

“It is just one way St.LukesHealth is looking to help the health of Tasmanians”.

St.LukesHealth director and Launceston Medical Centre GP Jerome Muir Wilson reiterated the importance of receiving the influenza vaccine.

“Influenza is a serious illness that can lead to hospitalisation or even death. In a usual year, 50 to 100 Tasmanians die of influenza. In 2021, influenza vaccination is only sitting at 45 per cent for 18 to 64-year-olds, putting us at risk of a resurgent flu outbreak,” Dr Muir Wilson said.

“Australia's record uptake of influenza vaccination last year (71.8 per cent) helped reduce Tasmania to its lowest Influenza record on record of only 163 cases in 2020.

“We have all seen what happens with COVID-19 complacency and COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. 

“Let's hope this doesn't spread to influenza immunisations and Tasmanians can turn this around the community rolling up their sleeves this year for both flu and COVID-19 immunisations.”

St.LukesHealth members who hold Extras cover are eligible for the offer, providing they have served a two-month waiting period. The offer is available until December 31, 2021.

For more information, visit https://stlukes.com.au/influenzavaccine2021

PICTURE CONTRIBUTED BY: Paul Scambler, The Examiner.

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