Women's Health

Australians are warned to get vaccinated as ‘triple virus threat’ looms this winter

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Australians have been urged to get vaccinated amid warnings of a ‘triple virus threat’ as a state battles its worst flu season in decades.

Dr Brad McKay said coronavirus, SVR and flu cases were on the rise as temperatures continued to drop across the country.

He said Australians can protect themselves from a nasty respiratory infection by getting vaccinated, especially against the flu.

“The main problem here is that we really don’t vaccinate enough people against the flu,” Dr. McKay told Weekend Today.

“We are seeing a sharp escalation of respiratory viruses.

“We’re also seeing flu cases going up right now, we’re also seeing Covid cases starting to go up as well.”

Australians have been urged to get vaccinated amid warnings of a 'triple virus threat' as a state battles its worst flu season in decades (pictured, a woman prepares for a vaccination)

Australians have been urged to get vaccinated amid warnings of a ‘triple virus threat’ as a state battles its worst flu season in decades (pictured, a woman prepares for a vaccination)

Queensland reported 6,374 recorded flu cases between January 1 and April 9 and the numbers are expected to rise.

Dr McKay said ‘hardly anyone’ aged six to five months had a flu shot and urged parents to take action.

According to the National Center for Immunization Research and Monitoring, only 2% of children in this age group have been vaccinated.

This comes just days after the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that a new sub-variant of Omicron XBB 1.16 – also called ‘Arcturus’ – was emerging in Australia.

It was first detected in India in January and sparked a spike in infections and led to the reintroduction of mask mandates in parts of the country.

Queensland reported 6,374 recorded flu cases between January 1 and April 9 and the number is expected to rise (pictured, a woman is vaccinated in Sydney)

Queensland reported 6,374 recorded flu cases between January 1 and April 9 and the number is expected to rise (pictured, a woman is vaccinated in Sydney)

Queensland reported 6,374 recorded flu cases between January 1 and April 9 and the number is expected to rise (pictured, a woman is vaccinated in Sydney)

Arcturus has also been designated as a “variant of concern by the WHO and is distinguished by conjunctivitis-like symptoms, particularly in children”.

According to the Department of Health’s weekly Covid data, the average daily number of Covid-19 cases in the week to April 18 had increased by more than 16%, with large increases in New South Wales and in Victoria.

Early data suggests Arcturus accounts for around 5% of all cases across Australia.

However, the number of new infections reported Australia-wide was only about a tenth of what it was at this time last year.

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