Influenza

A person coughing with the flu.Influenza (the flu) is a highly contagious disease, usually prevented by vaccination and treated by managing symptoms.

Spread by body fluids from infected people, symptoms include a runny nose and sore throat. Flu can affect anyone but is especially serious for babies and older people.

North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network (NWMPHN) works to support primary health care providers to respond to influenza outbreaks and increase immunisation coverage across the region.

See also:

On this page

Key messages for primary health care providers

  • Seasonal vaccination is recommended for everyone aged 6 months and over, strongly recommended for high-risk groups, and is free for some of these groups.
  • COVID-19 vaccines can be co-administered (that is, given on the same day) with an influenza vaccine.
  • Residential care facilities, healthcare facilities and childcare centres are all at higher risk of influenza outbreaks.
  • General practice respiratory clinics are available to provide patients with access to assessment for flu and other respiratory symptoms, testing and treatment close to where they live.

How we can help

Our primary roles are to:

  • provide education, resources and support to primary health care providers
  • communicate with primary health care providers and the broader community about influenza season and vaccines
  • assist in coordinating vaccine programs and outbreak responses between local primary health care providers, residential aged care facilities and the Victorian Department of Health
  • advocate for primary health and aged care providers
  • identify and address gaps in vaccine equity by commissioning targeted programs for at-risk populations.

Education and training

Visit our events calendar to register for upcoming influenza education and training sessions hosted by NWMMPHN and our partners including Pen CS webinars.

Quality improvement activities

Visit our quality improvement (QI) activity hub to download templates that will help you to increase influenza vaccination rates for at-risk populations.

Visit pencs.com.au to download influenza CAT4 recipes for use in your practice’s CAT Plus software. The FLU app, now available on Topbar, is designed to help consulting healthcare providers identify patients who are recommended for influenza vaccination but are yet to be vaccinated.

Basecamp

Practice nurses and practice managers are encouraged to join our online Basecamp communities to connect and collaborate with your peers during flu season. Our Vaccine Requests Basecamp is a popular way to help you share vaccine stock and reduce waste.

If you wish to join our Basecamp channels, please email education@nwmphn.org.au

General practice respiratory clinics

General practice respiratory clinics (GPRCs) now operate at many locations across Melbourne through partnerships between Primary Health Networks and the Victorian and Australian Governments.

GPRCs are designed to take the pressure off hospitals by giving patients access to face-to-face assessment of respiratory symptoms, testing (including for influenza and COVID-19) and immediate treatment close to where they live. GPRCs support other general practices who lack capacity or adequate personal protective equipment to see patients with respiratory symptoms face to face.

Visit nwmphn.org.au/gprcs for more information and to book an appointment.

HealthPathways

Our HealthPathways Melbourne clinical editors work to ensure GPs and other health professionals can quickly access the latest influenza information at the point of care. Relevant pages include:

Support

If you have any questions about the support we can provide for health services managing influenza in our community, please phone (03) 9347 1188 or email primarycare@nwmphn.org.au