Annual Campaign Launch 2011

The Influenza Specialist Group (ISG) held the launch of its 2011 awareness campaign at the University of Sydney on Wednesday 30th March. Interviews were held with a number of key ISG spokespeople, including ISG Chairman, Dr Alan Hampson OAM, virologist Professor William (Bill) Rawlinson AM, and Obstetrician (fetal medicine subspecialist) Dr Lucy Bowyer.

In addition, Ms Cynthia Nguyen spoke of her experiences with swine flu during pregnancy.

"It's Coming Back"

Reduced vaccination may lead to increased health risks this flu season.

As the ‘flu season’ begins, new findings released today by the Influenza Specialist Group (ISG) have revealed that every third person that you come into contact with on transport, at work or while buying a coffee this season could be the one that passes the influenza virus on to you or someone you know.

The survey of 1,120 people  revealed that while 82 percent of respondents recognize that even healthy people would benefit from vaccination, nearly three quarters (72%) are unsure whether they will get the vaccination, almost half (42%) have never had the vaccination and around 5,400,000 adult Australians (35%) will definitely not be seeking vaccination this year.

Although people recognise the benefits of vaccination there was some reluctance identified through the survey While people understand that being vaccinated in the past does not necessarily protect them from future influenza outbreaks (95%) they still do not believe it is important to be vaccinated every year (28%).

The worrying aspect for experts is that this reluctance to seek vaccination and become a potential risk to others is because many see vaccination as ‘too much hassle’ (40%) or unnecessary because they ‘never get the flu - so there’s no point’ (18%).

The latest surveillance data reveals 54,096 cases of influenza reported across Europe so far. While in England and Ireland, at the peak of the influenza season, more than one in every 100,000 people was hospitalised in intensive care units, in a single day.

Read the full media release here: 2011 ISG Media Release

The Influenza Specialist Group is today launching a new digital video to show Australians how influenza is transmitted across the world. The aim is to demonstrate that while last year’s influenza season may have been forgotten, the virus has not gone – it’s coming back and preventive measures should be taken.

The video forms part of a new range of online educational resources, also launched today, including; consumer information brochures and posters available in GP surgeries (Consumer brochure & posters), and a YouTube channel featuring video information about the flu virus and advice on prevention and treatment (Flutube100).

Download the Influenza Fact Sheet here: 2011 Influenza Fact Sheet