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    Dr Tim Harrison, Ararat Rural City Council chief executive.

Call out to help beat winter bug

Ararat municipal leaders have put a call out to western Victorian parents ahead of heightened influenza concerns this winter.

Ararat Rural City Council has encouraged parents with children between six months and five years to book in for a free flu vaccination at the council’s maternal and child health service, to prevent serious outbreaks during the colder months. 

Ararat chief executive Tim Harrison said prevention measures against influenza strains were key to ensure the safety of the community’s most vulnerable members.

“Young children are more likely to catch the flu than adults and become seriously unwell,” he said.

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“The influenza vaccine offered through the maternal and child health centre is free, safe and available to any children aged under five years.

“We want to encourage every parent with children under five to take advantage of this free service. 

“Our maternal and child health nurses have vaccinated more than 100 children, which is much higher than this time last year.”

Dr Harrison said the council’s maternal and child health nurses recommend children have two doses of the influenza vaccine in the first year, with a minimum of a one-month spacing.

He said vaccines were important to protect vulnerable children from the infection, as well as apply a community-wide protection for other vulnerable people.

“Even if your child has had the flu, the vaccine protects young ones from many other strains, making it still just as important to get the flu shot,” he said.

“In addition, GP clinics and community pharmacies across Victoria are now offering free flu vaccines to all Victorians aged five and over throughout June, as it is your best protection against flu this year.

“Public immunity is important to protect our vulnerable community members, many people who can’t have the vaccine rely on the wider community suppressing the spread to protect themselves.”

Dr Harrison said bookings were required and people could call the council on 5355 0224 to make an appointment. 

Influenza vaccine appointments  are also available at Ararat’s East Grampians Health Service Community Health Centre by appointment and are available every second and fourth Tuesday at Lake Bolac Bush Nursing Centre.

The entire June 15, 2022 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!