Health launches winter pricking campaigns

by John J. Williams

The Ministry of Health emphasizes the importance of vaccines in two new campaigns encouraging parents to protect their children from COVID-19 and keep everyone informed about their flu and coronavirus vaccinations.

At the launch of the campaigns, the ministry said the Kids would be kids campaign highlighted the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination for the protection of children. In contrast, the Take on Winter campaign reminded Australians they were more vulnerable to the disease this year.Health launches winter pricking campaigns

Mark Butler, the secretary of health and aged care, supported the health reports and said the ministry’s six-week Take on Winter campaign also underlined the availability of antivirals for people most vulnerable to the serious effects of COVID-19.

“For the first time since 2019, we have the dual threat of significant community transmission of both COVID-19 and flu – with the likely outcome likely to be a continued increase in the number of cases over the coming months,” said Mr. Butler.

“Health professionals and hospitals are reporting an increasing number of people seeking treatment for respiratory diseases,” he said.

“Vaccination is key to protecting against serious disease.”

Mr. Butler said it is vital that all eligible people stay current on their COVID-19 vaccinations and, if they have not already done so, get their annual flu shot as soon as possible.

The minister noted that two oral antiviral treatments – Lagevrio and Paxlovid – were available from local pharmacies for those most vulnerable to the serious effects of COVID-19.

He encouraged people to talk to their primary care physician about the right treatment for their health needs.

“The government has bought more than 1.3 million courses of antivirals to help protect people at risk of serious illness from passing on the virus, even if they are up to date on their vaccinations,” said Mr. Butler.

“While most of us will experience only mild symptoms, antiviral treatments for older Australians and those with underlying medical conditions can be effective, often avoiding hospitalization.”

He said one of the great advantages of the drugs was that they could be taken home.

But Mr. Butler said the timing was key.

“COVID-19 can go from mild to severe disease very quickly,” he said.

“It is vital to start the five-day course of antiviral treatment when symptoms first appear.”

Mr. Butler said the Department’s Kids campaign would be a children’s campaign to increase COVID-19 vaccination among children ages five to 15 by addressing parental safety concerns and improving the quality and effectiveness of emphasizing the vaccines.

“It can take up to two weeks for the flu and COVID-19 vaccines to provide maximum protection, so it’s important that you don’t delay making a vaccination appointment,” he said.

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