Preparing for winter
Due to Australia’s borders reopening, this winter has the potential for high numbers of influenza and other respiratory conditions, alongside the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The most important thing we can do to protect ourselves and our communities is to get vaccinated and continue the COVID-safe practices - social distancing, hand hygiene, staying home when unwell - we’ve learnt.
Flu and COVID
The combination of Influenza and COVID-19 could be life threatening, especially for vulnerable people. Vaccination against both is critical for people to not only protect themselves, but to reduce the risk of spread to others. From 2022, the flu vaccine can be given on the same day as a COVID vaccine.
Vaccinating against the flu protects and saves lives. The flu vaccine is free to eligible groups, including:
- All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged six months and over
- Pregnant women during any stage of pregnancy
- All people aged 65 years and over
- People aged six months and over with medical conditions which increase the risk of influenza disease complications.
To find the closest vaccination clinic, click on the tile below. To help monitor Influenza and COVID in your community, you can also join FluTracker.
For health professionals
This winter, Murray PHN is preparing for increased demand on health systems by focusing on service integration and ensuring measures are in place for medically and socially vulnerable groups. Immunisation providers needing assistance can email: email@example.com General practices can also contact their local Quality Improvement Consultant at GPsupport@murrayphn.org.au
COVID anti-viral prescribing
Two anti-viral oral treatments are approved for use in Australia and are available through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
- The Victorian Department of Health is providing a pharmacy helpline to support prescribers of COVID-19 oral antivirals. The helpline is staffed by Alfred Health pharmacists seven days a week between 8am-5pm and can be contacted on 03 8290 3801.
- There are several on-demand webinar recordings discussing the antivirals available as part of the VDH and RACGP Victoria Webinar Series 2022, click here for access.
Co-administration of COVID-19 vaccination and a flu vaccine
A COVID-19 vaccination and an influenza vaccination can be administered at the same time and may be provided to patients during the same attendance.
A vaccine suitability assessment MBS item would be billed for the COVID-19 vaccination. Influenza vaccine services are typically administered with standard MBS attendance items.
While a medical practitioner is under no obligation to bulk-bill a patient receiving an influenza vaccination, a patient who also receives a COVID-19 vaccination as part of the same occasion of care must be bulk-billed for the MBS COVID-19 vaccine suitability assessment component of the overall service.
- For further information, including a scenarios fact sheet, click here.
Murray PHN has developed a free campaign to encourage people to get vaccinated against the flu and COVID-19. Health services, local organisations and community groups are invited to share the campaign, available free to download:
- Social media tile
- Digital A4 flyer
- Poster A4 for in-house printing
- Poster A4 for professional printing
- Digital A4 flyer: free flu vaccinations during June
- Poster A4 for in-house printing: free flu vaccinations during June
- Poster A4 for professional printing: free flu vaccinations during June
For more information and resources
Primary care update newsletter
Murray PHN's weekly Wednesday COVAX update has evolved to become the Primary Care Update, which includes a broader range of current information to support primary care providers - click here to subscribe and click here to read previous editions.
- Australian Department of Health: 2022 NIP influenza vaccination program; Australian Immunisation Handbook and 2022 resources - posters, brochures and fact sheets in other languages
- ATAGI: Advice on seasonal influenza vaccines in 2022
- Murray HealthPathways: Influenza; Immunisation - Influenza
- RACGP: Managing pandemic influenza in general practice; Winter Planning Toolkit
- Victorian Department of Health: seasonal influenza vaccine; ordering processes; Immunisation Victoria newsletter subscription
- NSW Health: Seasonal influenza vaccine and ordering processes
- RACGP and NSW Health on-demand Influenza Vaccination Update 2022
- NCIRS's managing seasonal respiratory viruses: influenza and SARS-CoV-2 in winter 2022 (5 April 2022 recording)
- ATAGI statement on defining 'up-to-date' status for COVID-19 vaccination
- It starts with you: A free COVID-19 vaccination campaign for health services
- Immunisation – Influenza
- Immunisation Suite
- Child - Respiratory Suite
- Adult Respiratory Suite
- COVID-19 Suite
To request free access to Murray HealthPathways, click here.
Page last updated 20 July 2022