Macquarie University staff seasonal influenza vaccine
Macquarie University staff can now book an appointment for the seasonal influenza vaccine.
Bookings are open now, with vaccinations commencing in May.
The seasonal influenza vaccine is different to the COVID-19 vaccine. For information on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, visit the Australian Government’s information page.
The influenza vaccine is available to all continuing, fixed term and casual Macquarie University staff, including U@MQ and MQ Health employees.
Bookings are now open.
Appointments will be available 3–28 May 2021, unless extended.
Macquarie University Clinic
Suite 402A, Level 4, 2 Technology Place
Frequently asked questions
See answers to some of the most common questions about influenza.
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 can be from just a few days 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. The WHO states that the mortality rate for COVID-19 is higher than that of the flu.
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 now a vaccine available in Australia for COVID-19, and the administration of the vaccine to the entire adult population is planned to occur over the next 6-8 months, according to a schedule that is available on the Commonwealth Department of Health website
The best way to prevent spreading both the influenza and COVID-19 viruses 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.