Northern Health’s flu clinic team is seeing an unprecedented demand for flu vaccines, as they have given over 13,000 vaccinations to the public in just one month, compared to 11,000 vaccinations in three months last year.
The team on the front line, Madelaine Flynn, Manager of Infection Prevention and Kamal Sidhu, Clinical Nurse Consultant, told us families drive a few hours to get their children vaccinated and take advantage of the program.
“They’ve seen the media around the flu, and that has brought to the forefront how important it is to be vaccinated. They come to Northern, and tell us that their child goes to childcare and everybody is sick and they want their child to be protected,” Madelaine said.
The team has seen families bringing their grandparents, kids and partners to get their free flu shot, as larger families can have a significant financial cost when they go to get vaccinated elsewhere.
“They are aware of the flu consequences and the importance of vaccinating everyone in the family,” Kamal added.
Having the flu clinic in the front foyer of Northern Hospital Epping, means numerous families get their flu shot on their way back from their appointments, or after picking up their loved ones.
“There was a family whose daughter got discharged from the hospital, and as they were leaving the clinic, they came in and all had their shots, because they were aware that vaccination is the best protection they can give,” Madelaine said.
“We’ve had a few families who’ve come in who had been affected by the flu, either this year or last. Some of them had family members hospitalised. For example, we had a woman in ED who brought her son in with flu-like symptoms. While she was waiting for her son, she came to the clinic to get vaccinated,” she added.
New parents are also aware of the flu season and take action to stay protected.
“I had a gentlemen the other day whose wife just had a baby. She sent him to get a flu shot, to protect her and the baby,” Kamal added.
“We’ve also had the shopping centre staff, Woolworths staff and local kindergartens, school teachers and childcare workers,” she said.
Northern Health’s flu clinic is also vaccinating people who come in for outpatient appointments, especially the ones with chronic respiratory illness, as they are part of the high risk group.
And it’s not just the patients that drop by. International visitors come to Northern Health to make sure they stay healthy while visiting Australia.
“We’ve had a person whose mother was here from overseas, and her son brought her in to get vaccinated,” Kamal said.
“Even my parents are coming for a visit soon and they will be coming here to get the shot,” she added.
The flu clinic team also encourage all staff to vaccinate and protect themselves and everyone around them.
“Our staff are on the front line and at much higher risk – their best defence is to get the shot. They are more likely to get the flu than somebody just walking on the street,” Madelaine added.
Free flu vaccinations are available in the Northern Hospital foyer from 8 am – 8 pm daily (including weekends). Please note, times may change according to demand. Click here for details.
(Featured image: Madelaine Flynn and Kamal Sidhu)