Is influenza (the flu) the same as COVID-19 (coronavirus)?
COVID-19 is not the flu, although both have some similar symptoms such as fever, coughing or sore throat. For COVID-19 symptoms visit the Australian Government Department of Health and Human Services website: www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus. The flu vaccination will not reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. However failure to vaccinate against the flu may increase the severity of a COVID-19 infection.
Influenza (the flu) can be detrimental to your health and in severe cases can cause death. It is highly recommended that you have a flu shot. Flu shots are free for under 5 years, over 65 years and those with a chronic disease.
If you would like a flu vaccination please contact your GP. For an appointment with your doctor at Tallangatta Medical Centre please call 02 6071 5270.
Influenza (flu) vaccine from mid-April 2020
- Australia is heading into the Influenza (the flu) season which is expected to overlap with the current COVID-19 pandemic.
- Influenza is a contagious respiratory virus associated with fever, chills, joint and muscle pain, headache, and fatigue.
- The flu is not COVID-19. There is currently no COVID-19 vaccination.
- Resources are available on the Australian Government Department of Health website that provide information to the community about getting vaccinated against influenza in 2020.
- Vaccination is the most effective way to reduce the spread of the flu and reduce the incidence and severity of flu-related hospitalisations and deaths.
- Young children, the elderly, people with chronic medical conditions, neurodevelopmental disorders or weakened immune systems are most at risk of serious complications of the flu.
- Flu vaccinations are critical to reduce the risk of serious health issues for many people with disability. Providers supporting people to access flu vaccinations should arrange for these to be administered during mid to late April 2020.
What is influenza?
Influenza (the flu) is a common seasonal respiratory virus with transmission typically peaking during mid to late winter each year. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, aching muscles and joints, and sneezing or runny nose. While most people will recover naturally within one week, the flu can lead to other serious medical conditions such as pneumonia and even death in people who are most at risk. The influenza virus spreads by human-to-human contact or through droplets (sneezing, coughing or talking). People who are not feeling well should be encouraged to rest until they are better and consult a doctor if symptoms persist.
Is the flu vaccine effective?
Vaccination is the best protection against the flu. The flu vaccine needs updating yearly to reflect changes in the influenza virus. The flu vaccine prevents transmission in approximately 50-60% of people and reduces the risk of transmission to more vulnerable people, such as the very young who are unable to be immunised. You can also minimise the spread of the virus by following good hand hygiene and respiratory/cough etiquette.
Is the flu the same as COVID-19 (coronavirus)?
COVID-19 is not the flu, although both have some similar symptoms such as fever, coughing or sore throat. For COVID-19 symptoms visit the Australian Government Department of Health website. The flu vaccination will not reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. However failure to vaccinate against the flu may increase the severity of a COVID-19 infection.
Whilst there is no vaccination for COVID-19, it is very important to be vaccinated against the flu, for which a vaccine is available.
For further information on COVID-19, please refer to the Australian Government Department of Health information.
- NDIS Commission Research Report: Causes and Contributors to deaths of people with disability in Australia
- Australian Government Department of Health – Flu (Influenza) webpage
- Australian Government Department of Health – Flu (Influenza) Symptoms Checker
- World Health Organisation – Influenza (seasonal) factsheet
- Royal Australian College of General Practitioners 2020. Vaccinations shown to reduce flu mortality rates.
- Australian Institute of Health & Welfare 2018. Influenza in Australia.
- Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (2019). Flu symptoms and complications.
- Peacock G, Moore C, Uyeki T. 2012. Children with special health care needs and preparedness: Experiences from seasonal influenza and the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic. Disaster Med Public Health Prep 6 (2): 91-3. Doi: 10.1001/dmp.2012.26
- Australian Department of Health (2019). Australian Influenza Surveillance Report (no.12).
- Australian Department of Health (2019). Flu (influenza) immunisation service.
- World Health Organisation (2018). Influenza Seasonal.
- The Australian Government Department of Health & Ageing (2007). Vaccine Preventable Diseases and Vaccination coverage in Australia, 2003 to 2005.
- Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (2019). Interim Guidance for Influenza outbreak management in long-term care facilities.
- Australian Government Department of Health (2019). Flu (influenza).
- Australian Government Department of Health (2019). Australian Immunisation Handbook.
- Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (2018). Prevention strategies for seasonal influenza in health care settings – Guidelines and recommendations.
Part information supplied by: NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission