It’s time to get your yearly Influenza vaccine (Flu shot).
In 2022, there was a resurgence of influenza virus circulation arising from the reopening of international borders. In 2023, seasonal influenza activity is expected to continue and the importance of influenza vaccination should be emphasised.
Spleen Australia and ATAGI recommend the yearly influenza vaccine for individuals with immunocompromising conditions and are FREE for all people living without a functioning spleen. Annual vaccination should ideally occur before the onset of each influenza season. The period of peak influenza circulation is typically June to September in most parts of Australia. Please click on thelink for the full ATAGI statement.
The Influenza vaccine can be given at the same time as COVID-19 and other Spleen vaccines. Please check with your GP to see if you are due for any ‘spleen vaccines’.
For other great resources that answers many important questions about the Influenza vaccine, see the information resourses below.
NEW ADVICE: Spleen Australia and the National Immunisation Program (NIP) recommends a booster dose of the meningococcal B (Bexero) vaccine. The recommendation is to have this vaccine 5 years after your initial TWO doses.
The meningococcal B vaccine is FREE for all people without a functioning spleen. Below we have provided a link to resources from the Australian Government, Department of Health. We will endeavor to update our website regularly to reflect the most up to date information. Your GP will be helpful in providing advice regarding the vaccine.
Are you going to get your first, second or ‘booster’ COVID-19 vaccine? We are looking for a wide selection of Victorians to contribute samples to the Victorian COVID-19 Vaccinees Collection (VC²).
This important study (VC2) is open to all Victorians planning to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Family and friends welcome to participate too.
It involves having blood and saliva samples PRIOR to any COVID vaccine dose and up to four times after. One of the best things about this study is that you can enrol online via the Doherty website. There will be no study visits to a hospital or clinic. The blood sample kits will be posted to you so that you can attend your local Melbourne Pathology service.
The samples collected will support research into the long term effects of COVID-19 vaccines, including what type of immune response is generated, how long immunity lasts and the impact of different viral variants.
All Australians over five years of age will be offered a COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccines are not ‘live’ which means they do not carry any active part of the virus. We believe it will be an important vaccine for our patients to have. Below we have provided links to resources from the Australian Government, Department of Health, and Medicine/Vaccine advisory boards. We will endeavor to update our website regularly to reflect the most up to date information. Your GP will be helpful in providing advice regarding the vaccine.
COVID-19 2023 booster dose recommendations
ATAGI has updated its recommendations for a 2023 booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the goal of the vaccine program remains the prevention of severe illness from COVID-19. The updated recommendations are:
ATAGI recommends a 2023 COVID-19 vaccine booster dose for adults in the following groups; if their last COVID-19 vaccine dose or confirmed infection (whichever is the most recent) was 6 months ago or longer, and regardless of the number of prior doses received:
All adults aged 65 years and over
Adults aged 18-64 years who have medical comorbidities that increase their risk of severe COVID-19, or disability with significant or complex health needs.
ATAGI advises the following groups should consider a 2023 booster dose if their last COVID-19 vaccine dose or confirmed infection (whichever is the most recent) was 6 months ago or longer, and regardless of the number of prior doses received, based on an individual risk benefit assessment with their immunisation provider.
All Adults aged 18-64 years without risk factors for severe COVID-19
Children and adolescents aged 5-17 years who have medical comorbidities that increase their risk of severe COVID-19, or disability with significant or complex health needs.
ATAGI advises that individuals should aim for the booster dose to be received before June 2023 and can be co-administered with the influenza vaccine. ATAGI advises that Pfizer or Moderna are the preferred vaccine choice however all currently available COVID-19 vaccines are anticipated to provide benefit as a booster dose. Please click this link to read the full ATAGI statement.
To assess your eligability please discuss with your GP or specialist.
Am I at greater risk of getting the coronavirus infection? There is now some information from the UK and elsewhere saying that people without a functioning spleen may have a slightly increased risk of getting COVID-19. The reason why you had your spleen removed and any ongoing medical treatments would add to this risk. Additionally, if you get a viral infection you may get a secondary bacterial infection (e.g. pneumonia).
All patients registered with Spleen Australia are recommended to have COVID vaccines (any type), as per ATAGI guidelines, to provide effective protection from the virus.
Who should I contact if I have symptoms and/or have COVID? If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, immediately get tested (PCR or RAT) and isolate until you get your result. If your symptoms are of concern, contact your GP. If you have serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, call 000 for urgent medical help.
When should I take my emergency supply of antibiotics? Do not take your emergency antibiotics if you have symptoms of a viral infection. Get your symptoms assessed ASAP by your GP (eg. telehealth appointment) to determine if your symptoms are COVID related or a bacterial infection (or both). If the doctor feels your symptoms are due to a bacterial infection you will probably be prescribed a course of antibiotics. If you cannot get to see a doctor promptly (within a few hours) and feel very unwell, take your emergency supply of antibiotics. When you do get to see a doctor tell them what you have taken.
Australian singer Daryl Braithwaite is using a deeply personal experience to highlight the work of Spleen Australia.
As the Melbourne-based, but internationally known front man for iconic Australian band Sherbet in the 70s, Daryl has been without his spleen since 2016.
He knows only too well the health challenges faced by people without a spleen.
Away from rapturous acclaim whenever he performs the hit The Horses – which is also one of the most played songs at weddings around the world – Daryl has signed up as the patron of Spleen Australia.
And Daryl is using his knowledge of the impact of losing a spleen to help promote Spleen Australia’s newly revamped website.
Daryl’s spleen had to be removed in 2016 as a result of a gastric problem.
“Sometimes I think some of us in the music industry live in a bubble,” Daryl said when recalling the time when he fell ill having not faced any health issues in the past.
Daryl said it was scary going to the doctor and he was dreading the worse diagnosis. Fortunately, he didn’t have cancer, but the diagnosis was still serious, requiring surgery.
He felt the care he got in hospital was fantastic, especially from the doctors and nurses.
Health is very important to Daryl who wants to be around for his son Oscar.
Spleen Australia, based at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, helps people of all ages who do not have a functioning spleen by assisting them reduce their chances of getting a bacterial infection or other potentially serious complications.
Anyone who registers with Spleen Australia is provided with information about how to avoid infections and have access to a health information line.
Since the operation back in 2016 the now 71-year-old Braithwaite has been enjoying good health and continues to do all he can for bushfire victims.
And of course Daryl also wants to support people who do not have a functioning spleen by using his own story and experience to guide them towards maintaining ongoing good health.
In order to keep you up to date with the latest Spleen Australia activities and medical recommendations it is vital we have your up to date contact details, including mobile or home phone number, personal e-mail address and postal address.
To update your contact details, please send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us 03 9076 3828 (Victoria and Tasmania), 1800 775 336 (QLD)
You are unable to access your Spleen Australia registration page once it has been completed. If there is anything you would like to change or let us know please get in contact with us.