The Australian College of Nursing is urging all Australians to get vaccinated against seasonal influenza in order to protect themselves, their loved ones and the nation’s indispensable health care professionals.
“Australia, like the rest of the world, has been rocked by COVID-19,” Australian College of Nursing CEO, Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN said. “While this pandemic can make it easy to push other health concerns to the back of the queue, it actually makes getting the flu vaccination more important than ever.
“Contracting COVID-19 is extremely dangerous to the health of older Australians, people with chronic health conditions, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and to the ability of our health care professionals to continue providing care.
“The winter flu presents similar risks and ensuring everyone is immunised can help protect the most vulnerable members of our community.”
Australia experienced its worst flu season on record in 2019, with 310,000 presenting to health services. The ACN Nurses, Immunisation and Health Position Statement released last year clearly highlighted the importance of adult vaccinations to protect our community.
“Our health services are under unprecedented pressure due to COVID-19 and we can each do our part to make sure other preventable infectious illnesses, like the flu, do not add to this burden,” Adjunct Professor Ward said.
“More than half of all primary care nurses provide immunisations daily. Our nursing workforce is vital to providing access to immunisation for all Australian’s including those living in rural and remote areas. ACN would like to see governments support more nurses to undertake training to become nurse immunisers and enable nurses to provide immunisations in people’s homes.”
“If people need an incentive to get immunised, please consider the impact exposing doctors and nurses to the flu will potentially have on our health care workforce – who we need now more than ever – not to mention the threat to vulnerable family members.”
The Flu season might be upon us, and while there are quite a bit of media pleading for community to be vaccinated, there appears a lack of direction from Health Departments. There are two distinct influenza vaccines – one that has quadrivalent strains for persons over 65 years and a tri-valent strains for 6 mths to 64 year old. The vaccine for >65 years was made available late May 2020 and yet, health services seem to be still waiting for the vaccine for <65 year olds.
The current CoVID19 pandemic has also brought about difficulties in access – with social distancing and self isolation, people are not able to queue up in front of GP clinics although efforts from GP in novel ways of CoVID19 testing through 'drive through' make-shift car pooling isn't such a bad idea. …(swab the throat and nasal passage and vaccinate on the upper arm).
While pharmacies such as a certain distinct 'branch' has been advertising the vaccines way before any media release from governments, they come with a cost of upwards of $15.00 to $25.00 per 'shot' administered by the pharmacists (this is new and extension of their scope of practice – unlike nurses who administer injections on a shift-to-shift basis).
Yet, most hospitals have not gotten their 'funded' vaccines yet and not able to provide the vaccines to those listed as most at risk, and able to have the vaccine with no out of pocket cost to the individual.
Prior to our current pandemic, many work places as part of their workforce planning, bought vaccines for their staff and sourced out nurse immunizes to visit their premises / factories / workplaces to provide the vaccine to staff with minimal disruption to their workplace. Most of these companies / institutions / banks etc. are now physically closed and providing 'work from home' to their staff members, which again creates a barrier of access.
It's a challenging environment.
Administering injections is a basis part of nursing care. This is further enhanced by the rather annoying annual drug calculation tests as is the annual requirement and certifications in undergoing BLS and, first aide, choking and anaphylaxis – which by the way, physicians don't need annual certification par every three years.
Why is providing vaccination considered an expanded nursing skill is beyond me. All nurses should be able to vaccinate in a safe environment.
absolutely especially in Western Australia , being able to go out to peoples homes would be a huge benefit to the community .
also the system in WA needs to be overhauled, the nurses in primary care do the majority of immunisations but get little recognition , not even an avenue to become a nurse immuniser.