This is part 60 of our coronavirus FAQ. Click here to read other installments: #Coronavirus the facts. Find the latest information and answers from experts on everything COVID-19.
Boosting the influenza vaccination rate
Winter in Australia lasts from June through August. As of late May, the Australian government secured 18 million doses of the influenza vaccine, five million more than last year. Officials called on people to get vaccinated to prevent healthcare services from being overwhelmed by a double outbreak of influenza and coronavirus.
The state of New South Wales, where the nation’s largest city of Sydney is located, was on the highest alert against possible flu outbreaks at nursing homes. It obliged all staff and visitors such as family members to be vaccinated.
The nationwide efforts ensured Australia reported no flu deaths between May and September 20. From the start of the year to September 20, 36 deaths were attributed to the flu. Overall, the flu fatality rate was 5.1 percent of the figure in the same period last year.
Coronavirus measures also help prevent influenza
Doctor Jeremy McAnulty of New South Wales Health says the vaccination rate against the flu was very high this winter because of the concern about a double epidemic, and he believes that played a significant role.
He adds that measures to prevent coronavirus infections, such as social distancing, restrictions on large events and more awareness of hand-washing and disinfecting, were also effective in curbing influenza.
This information is accurate as of Nov. 16, 2020.