Bathurst pharmacies are calling on members of the community to keep up to date with influenza [flu] and COVID vaccinations heading into the cooler months.
With COVID-19 still in the community and flu season fast approaching, local pharmacies will continue to offer flu and COVID boosters for those who require them, especially the elderly and immunocompromised.
Forbutt's Pharmacy pharmacist Tin Huynh said there's already been a significant number of bookings for vaccinations, and expects both COVID and the flu will heavily circulate in the community throughout winter.
"Before COVID, people were still getting quite sick with the flu, with hospitalisations and deaths occurring, but because COVID is in the front of our minds at the moment, the flu has taken a back seat," Mr Huynh said.
Because COVID is in the front of our minds at the moment, the flu has taken a back seat.- Tin Huynh, Forbutt's Pharmacy pharmacist
"The state government has a free flu vaccination scheme in place for higher risk individuals, such as people over 65, and the vaccine can be administered at the same time as the fourth COVID shot if they're eligible."
A fourth COVID shot is only recommended for seniors, people who live in aged or disability care facilities, severely immunocompromised people over 16 and Indigenous Australians over the age of 50.
Moodie's Pharmacy pharmacist and proprietor Paul Jones said it's currently uncertain whether COVID or the flu will be the bigger issue in winter, but also recommends residents don't turn a blind eye towards the latter.
"There's been media reports over the last few days about the increase of influenza as a result of increased air travel between countries," Mr Jones said.
"As there was a decrease in air travel over the last two years, we weren't seeing as many cases of influenza, but with borders opening up, the flu will likely circulate at a greater rate.
"Hospitals can test for the flu within 15 minutes if you present with symptoms. They now have the technology to diagnose patients quicker."
Mr Jones said the pharmacy has also experienced a rush with vaccinations, both for the flu and COVID.
"There has been a lot of walk-ins in the past week for people getting their COVID jabs to ensure they could continue going to work, so it's essential people check their workplace's vaccination requirements," he said.
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