24 June 2022
Australians are being urged to roll up their sleeves for the COVID booster shot, as fears of a very dangerous winter for our well being sector turns into a actuality. Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly, joins me now from our nation’s capital, Canberra. Professor, good morning to you. Thanks for being with us.
A very harsh flu season, I do know as a result of my- one in all my youngsters has had it. How necessary is it individuals keep on high of each the COVID boosters and the flu jab?
Properly, winter is certainly with us, Alex, and the primary message on your viewers in the present day is to return to rolling up, and rolling up these sleeves for these photographs. And so, anybody who’s eligible for a 3rd or, for many individuals, a fourth dose, of the COVID vaccine ought to go and get that. But in addition the flu vaccine, crucial now, and proper throughout Australia, that is been made free for most individuals, however significantly those that are weak of extreme flu. And that features younger youngsters, truly. And so, that is a distinction to the COVID message. We have to enhance that flu shot as properly.
The opposite factor that I feel we should always actually discuss is the supply of oral medicines, antiviral medicines for COVID. There’s two of these obtainable now, you may get it on a script out of your GP. And now’s the time, in the event you’re in these weak teams, to have a COVID therapy plan. Go and speak to your GP about that, or look on the web site for additional details about who could be eligible.
So these antiviral medicines – take these, versus, going to hospital?
Yeah. It isn’t a substitute for vaccination, vaccination remains to be an important factor to ensure you’re updated on that. However for individuals – significantly older individuals, individuals with continual ailments, individuals with immune suppression, these are extra weak of extreme COVID – it does have an effect on that hospitalisation price. It does truly defend individuals from dying of COVID. And so, actually necessary that we now have a plan as a result of, the earlier you get that after you’ve- in the event you contract COVID, the higher end result it is going to be.
You talked about youngsters going to hospital, and plenty of them, earlier than. We all know Karl’s younger daughter Harper, simply two years previous, rushed to a hospital a few days in the past with a respiratory sickness. Are hospitals coping?
Look, they’re coping. It is actually a pressure in the intervening time from flu and COVID, a double whammy, in the event you like, but additionally absenteeism of workers who’re additionally being affected. So that is the problem in the intervening time, as we regularly see in winter with flu, however having flu and COVID round does do this. We’ve got seen numerous kids admitted to hospital with flu and different respiratory sicknesses, as we do right now of yr, normally throughout winter. However difficult occasions.
Flu vaccine protects youngsters, and the take up of flu vaccine in that under-five age group, actually, actually necessary to do. And I actually encourage dad and mom who’re watching the present to try this. I’d additionally add, if you’re pregnant, it is now a time to guard you, it additionally protects youngsters in that first six months of life after being pregnant, the flu vaccine. So it is a actually good time to get that, and your COVID vaccine, each are secure in being pregnant.
Professor, nice recommendation. Thanks for approaching this morning.