Vaccination remains a vital defence in the Bass Coast’s bid to minimise the impact of the next wave of COVID.
The BA.4 and 5 sub-variants of the Omicron strain are now the dominant strains in our community and they are more contagious than previous strains of COVID.
These new strains are unfortunately active in our community at the same time as Influenza, other respiratory illnesses and gastro, resulting in widespread sickness.
Bass Coast Health CEO Jan Child said the case numbers documented are not showing the full extent of the impact on our community because we know many people are not getting tested and not reporting positive Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs).
It is our view, based on Emergency Department presentations and hospitalisations, that the numbers of people with COVID are probably greater now than they have been ever before. And the impact of Influenza and other respiratory diseases on local people is being felt across all industries and townships.
The availability of a fourth winter dose of vaccination offers everyone the perfect opportunity to minimise their likelihood of catching COVID and to reduce their risk of experiencing significant illness should they do.
“Vaccination remains the best way you can protect yourself and those you love against COVID and flu,” Ms Child said.
“If you haven’t had a flu jab it’s not too late. If you are eligible for a fourth COVID dose you should get it. You just need to be aged 30 and over, it must have been three months since your previous COVID infection and your previous COVID vaccination, and you can even have your flu and COVID vaccinations at the same time.
“In addition to vaccination, I would implore people to wear masks indoors and when you can’t physically distance, sanitise and wash your hands often, avoid crowds, work from home if you can, and gather outdoors or in ventilated indoor spaces wherever possible. These actions help to reduce transmission of bugs.”
COVID and flu vaccinations are available from GPs, Pharmacies and the Chitty Chitty Jab Jab mobile vaccination bus run by the Gippsland Region Public Health Unit. This bus will be at the Wonthaggi Town Hall on Saturday 30 July from 10am-2pm. No bookings are necessary but arrive early. COVID and flu vaccinations are available for all age groups. Bring your Medicare Card and children must present proof of age.
“Having as many COVID vaccinations as you are eligible for will help to increase your chances of staying out of hospital and therefore reduce demand on our already busy health system,” Ms Child said.