Macquarie is offering free flu vaccine to all staff
The flu vaccine is available to all full time, part time and casual Macquarie University staff, including U@MQ employees.
To book, click on the link below, select 'Book appointment' at Macquarie University General Practice (not Trafalgar Place), then select either 'Flu clinic 1' or 'Flu clinic 2' to find an appointment (both rooms provide the same service and access to flu shot).
Fill in the patient registration form before you visit the clinic.
"Remember — influenza vaccine is considered the most effective way to prevent influenza. Annual influenza vaccination is recommended for everyone over six months of age. None of the influenza vaccines available in Australia contain live influenza viruses, so they cannot cause influenza."
Dr Heather Knox
General Practitioner, MQ Health
Lecturer, Faculty of Medicine, Health and Human Sciences, Macquarie University
Can I get the flu vaccine if I'm working from home?
A reminder that under the new work from home conditions, if you are making an appointment to come into the GP Clinic for your vaccination it will be covered by Macquarie University, however if you choose to go to your local GP clinic that will be at your own expense.
Our Clinic is currently set up to comply with the physical distancing protocols introduced by the Government. The current rule of 4 square metres per person in an enclosed space is being adhered to in our waiting room with our seating having been adjusted accordingly.
We would like to remind you that an annual influenza vaccination is recommended for everyone over the age of six months.
The normal procedures will be followed whereby patients will be screened in regard to their general health on the day.
Are COVID-19 and influenza the same illnesses?
No. Whilst COVID-19 and influenza are both viral respiratory illnesses they are different infections. However, the symptoms can be very similar. Both infections can present with fever or chills, cough, sore throat, fatigue or tiredness or shortness of breath. Influenza also commonly causes headache and body or muscle aches.
Both infections can present with mild disease but unfortunately both can cause severe illness or death. COVID-19 has a higher risk of severe illness and death than influenza.
What is the incubation period for COVID-19 and influenza?
An incubation period is the time it takes a person to develop symptoms after coming into contact with the infection.
For COVID-19 the incubation period is up to 14 days.
For influenza it is much shorter: 1–4 days.
Are symptoms the same for COVID-19 and influenza?
COVID-19 and influenza have many symptoms in common including: fever, cough, runny nose and fatigue; both illnesses can sometimes cause nasal congestion and sore throat.
There are some symptoms that are more common to influenza such as the illness starting with muscle pains, body aches, loss of appetite and headache.
Some symptoms more likely with COVID-19 are shortness of breath and the illness starting with respiratory symptoms from the very beginning.
What is the severity and mortality of influenza vs COVID-19?
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) around 15 per cent of COVID-19 cases are severe, and five per cent are critical. Those in a critical state require a ventilator to breathe. The chance of severe and critical infection is higher with COVID-19 than influenza. According to the WHO, the mortality rate for COVID-19 appears to be higher than that of the flu, however, research on COVID-19 is still in its early stages and these estimates may change over time.
Influenza is the most common vaccine-preventable disease in Australia. Although it can be a mild disease, it can also cause very serious illness in otherwise healthy people. It can require hospitalisation and can cause death. Influenza may trigger asthma and exacerbations of lung and heart disease. Influenza is more likely to cause serious complications in certain patients, such as those over 65 years, children under five years, pregnant women and those with other medical conditions such as diabetes, respiratory conditions, heart disease or cancer.
Is transmission different in COVID-19 vs influenza?
Both COVID-19 and the influenza virus can spread from person to person. Tiny droplets containing the viruses can pass from someone with the infection to someone else, typically through the nose and mouth via coughing and sneezing. People with either infection can pass the infection on before they show any symptoms.
People should stay at least two metres away from anyone coughing or sneezing to help prevent the transmission of infections.
The viruses can also live on surfaces. The WHO is not sure exactly how long the COVID-19 virus can survive, but it could be days.
How can you prevent contracting and spreading COVID-19 and the flu?
The most effective way of preventing influenza is through vaccination. There are many different strains of influenza and they vary each season. Doctors will try to predict what strains will be most common each winter to select the right vaccine components. Annual influenza vaccination is recommended for everyone over six months of age.
There is currently no vaccine available for the COVID-19 infection but researchers around the world are working on developing one. The virus is new, and developing safe vaccines takes time.
The best way to prevent spreading the COVID-19 virus includes:
- cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue
- put used tissues straight into the bin
- wash your hands often with soap and water, including before and after eating and after going to the toilet
- use alcohol-based hand sanitisers
- avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces such as benchtops, desks and doorknobs
- clean and disinfect frequently used objects such as mobile phones, keys, wallets and work passes
- increase the amount of fresh air available by opening windows or adjusting air conditioning.
Everyone must also stay two metres away from other people whenever possible. This is called social distancing.
You must self-isolate if you are sick, have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19, or have recently returned from overseas.
How does treatment differ for COVID-19 and the flu?
As influenza has been around much longer than COVID-19, there are more treatment options. Most people with the flu do not require medical treatment. In some cases a doctor might prescribe antiviral drugs which can reduce the symptoms by 1–2 days. These antiviral drugs help the body fight the virus. They treat symptoms and reduce how long the illness lasts.
There are currently no antiviral drugs approved to treat COVID-19, although scientists are currently researching drugs in trials. There are, however, ways to help treat the symptoms and complications that can occur.
For mild cases, and if recommended by their doctor, a person may remain home and undertake social distancing. Medications such as paracetamol can reduce the fever. For more severe cases, a person may require hospitalisation, supplemental oxygen or mechanical ventilation on a breathing machine to treat the respiratory problems that may occur.