With the winter season approaching and recommencement of international travel in 2022, influenza and COVID-19 vaccination will be crucial for protecting individuals from infection and reducing healthcare burden. Current Australian guidelines recommend influenza and COVID-19 vaccines can be coadministered, highlighting an important opportunity for disease prevention by GPs.
Influenza and COVID-19 prevention during the pandemic
The emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in late 2019 and the global COVID-19 pandemic, which was declared in March 2020, saw the deployment of public health restrictions not seen since the H1N1 influenza A (Spanish flu) pandemic of 1918/1919.1 Before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia experienced seasonal influenza epidemics annually during the winter months. These seasonal influenza epidemics are believed to be primarily introduced into Australia by international travellers from the northern hemisphere. In 2020 and 2021, with the introduction of border restrictions and quarantine, as well as other public health measures to control COVID-19, there were no seasonal influenza epidemics in Australia.2