On Thursday, 4 June, we heard from Director Infection Prevention Rhonda Stuart at the Employee Webex Forum on the importance of ensuring you receive your flu vaccination this year.
“Influenza is a significant cause of illness in the Australian community and, in some cases, can result in death. In 2019 alone, we had over 900 deaths in Australia due to influenza. The annual influenza vaccination is the most effective way to prevent infection,” Rhonda explained.
She also went on to note, “This Winter we are dealing with two viruses in our community; COVID-19 and influenza so now more than ever it is so important you receive your flu vaccination.”
Please note: 100% Vaccination or declaration by all Monash Health employees is mandatory.
If you missed the Employee Forum here is a list of questions and answers you may find helpful:
I am working from home; what should I do?
If you are well, you can visit one of the Infection Prevention Offices at Monash Medical Centre, Dandenong Hospital, Moorabbin, Kingston or Casey Hospital, which are open from Monday to Friday. You can also choose to visit our new drive-in immunisation clinic or receive your vaccination off-site at a pharmacy or GP etc.
If you have received your vaccination elsewhere, including our drive-in immunisation clinics, or are not intending to receive the flu vaccine, you must complete the quick online declaration form. It only takes a few seconds.
Is Monash Health sending flu vaccination data to the central register and My Health Record?
No, we are not uploading onto My Health Record. Vaccinations that are part of the national immunisation schedule are uploaded to the My Health Record, but health care workers vaccinations are not part of this scheme. We can give you a statement of vaccination.
Can employee family members access the drive-in vaccination clinics?
Yes, however, please ensure you complete the quick online declaration form if you receive your vaccination there too.
How long does the flu vaccination last?
Influenza strains change from year to year, which is why annual vaccination is needed for optimal protection.
Protection from the vaccine also declines over time, probably beginning at around six months which is adequate for the Southern hemisphere flu season, but if travelling overseas later in the year, you may want to receive another vaccination before you leave.
I’ve reacted to the flu vaccine in the past but now have a homeopathic alternative will this be recognised?
No, a homeopathic alternative will not be recognised. The flu vaccine is overwhelmingly very safe, even for people with egg allergies. If you have any concerns, please discuss it with our Infection Prevention team or your GP if you feel you may have a reaction or have had one in the past.
Can I get the flu from the vaccine?
No. You may get a slight mild temperature; however, it is not the flu; it is the normal reaction of your immune system developing antibodies. But remember that it takes around two weeks to develop antibodies after receiving the vaccine so during that time you remain susceptible to the virus.
What penalties are there if we don’t get the flu vaccination?
Remember, we are trying to protect ourselves, our patients, and each other, it’s not about penalties. But the penalty you do face is to your personal health; without a vaccine, you may get very sick, you may pass influenza on to vulnerable colleagues, relatives and patients. In the future, you may not be able to work in some areas where patients are vulnerable, this has already occurred with our aged care facilities. There is more legislation coming for more vulnerable areas where you must prove vaccination before you can work.
Can I access my flu certificate?
The infection prevention team has made it even easier for you to manage your flu vaccination status and record of immunisations. You can now download your 2020 flu vaccination certificate, and access your record of immunisation for vaccines received at Monash Health or declared as administered elsewhere. Visit the employee COVID-19 website for more details.
Approved Associate Professor Rhonda Stuart, Medical Director Infection Prevention
5th June 2020