FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Medimobile is a medical practice operating throughout Australia and New Zealand that offers onsite, workplace Influenza (flu) vaccinations. We were founded by Dr Kirsten Baulch MBBS FRACGP in 2003, and Dr Baulch remains as our Medical Director to the present day. In 2019, we vaccinated over 250,000 people against flu, making us the largest provider of workplace flu vaccination services in the Southern Hemisphere.

Our customers are businesses and government departments across Australia and New Zealand who wish to protect their employees from flu.

Our customers pay the costs of our nurses visiting their workplace, as well as the cost of the vaccines. As per the legislation, none of the cost of an employer-initiated health initiative can be billed to Medicare.

We employ approximately 340 Immunisation Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, and registered Doctors who work within our team and travel to workplaces and clinics in cities, towns and remote communities to bring a high quality, personalised service to businesses of any size in any location.

  • Australia’s leading provider – Over 10 years’ experience specialising exclusively in workplace flu programs
  • Australia’s largest workforce of Nurse Immunisers, Nurse Practitioners, and Doctors offers you choice and redundancy that no other provider can offer
  • Most highly qualified team – Operated by our Medical Director who is supported by a team of over 300 Nurse Immunisers and eleven General Practitioners providing free telephone medical advice to your employees via our medical advice hotline
  • Highly developed bespoke online booking system, FluBookings and online flu management portal, FluManager provides a service of unparalleled ease and reliability for your organisation
  • Free mobile app (FluApp) offering a world-first educational experience, enhanced booking features and online Flu Medical Certificates for your employees
  • FluKits, our cold and flu education and prevention kits, available for you to purchase for your employees if you wish
  • Registered and insured in all States, Territories and regions to ensure the highest level of compliance with all legislation governing the operation of workplace flu programs
  • Trusted by over 4000 businesses annually to deliver a quality medical service, on time, with the highest level of care
  • The best service. The finest care. Experience the Medimobile difference.

In Australia in 2020 there is only one main type of flu vaccine available. This is the Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine (QIV) which is offered by Medimobile as part of our workplace flu vaccination programs. The Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine (QIV) is suitable for adults up to 64 years of age. This vaccine aims at giving even broader protection than the previous Trivalent vaccine (TIV) by providing protection against one extra B strain of influenza.

The Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine (QIV) protects against four strains of influenza (two A strains and two B strains). The A and B strains commonly cause influenza in children and adults.

In February 2018 the Australian Government announced that it would provide a new type of stronger Trivalent Influenza Vaccine (TIV) for those aged 65 and older. This is because those 65 and older appear to need a higher dose to gain the same immune response as younger adults and children. Also, those over 65 are more susceptible to Influenza A strains, and the High Dose TIV protects against two A strains and also one B strain (the B strain appears to be less implicated in older people). Medimobile does not offer the stronger Trivalent Influenza Vaccine (TIV) as part of our workplace flu vaccination programs.

The reported cases of Influenza in 2019 were similar to 2018, and estimated to have cost Australian businesses billions of dollars. Work absenteeism currently costs the Australian economy about $7 billion, while the cost of work presenteeism (where employees are sick on the job) is approximately $34 billion through lost productivity (1).

In Australia, as of December 2019, there have been 310, 011 laboratory notifications of Influenza. Last years season was the 2nd most intense since 2017, with the majority of case notification during the winter months, as demonstrated on the orange line in this chart (2), which shows a year-by-year comparison of flu notifications:

graph for 2020

Antigenic drift refers to the phenomenon whereby the influenza virus gradually mutates and changes. Hence the flu vaccine is changed each year to match the anticipated circulating strains in the Southern Hemisphere, based on case notifications of Influenza in the Northern hemisphere in the year prior, and also on longer-term flu strain trends. The WHO recommendations on the flu vaccine constituents are often a remarkably accurate prediction.  

The flu vaccine in 2019 had approximately 60% vaccine effectiveness, which compares well with previous vaccine effectiveness trends (3). So whilst no flu vaccine can provide 100% protection, vaccination is certainly the best protection that can be offered against catching influenza, and its inherent morbidity and inconvenience as well. 

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.medianet.com.au/releases/172826/
  2. https://www.immunisationcoalition.org.au/news-media/2019-influenza-statistics/
  3. https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/cda-surveil-ozflu-flucurr.htm#current

This year Australia is the first country to offer an adjuvanted quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine (QIV) – Fluad® Quad.

This adjuvant flu vaccine is a quadrivalent (4-strain) flu vaccine available under the government’s National Immunisation Program (NIP) and is only suitable for individuals aged 65 years and above.

Previously, the 65+ adjuvant vaccine protected against 3 strains of influenza. An adjuvant is an ingredient added to a vaccine that helps create a stronger immune response to vaccination.

Due to Fluad® Quad flu vaccine only being available under the NIP, not available for private purchase and not suitable for individuals under 65 years of age, Medimobile is unable to supply or administer this type of flu vaccine.  If you are aged 65+, we suggest you see your GP to access this higher immunogenicity flu vaccine.

It is important for all individuals in this age group (65+ years) to be vaccinated and therefore if any individual aged 65+ are unlikely to attend their GP to receive this higher immunogenicity flu vaccine it is recommended that they proceed with one of the quadrivalent Influenza vaccines Medimobile is able to provide to ensure that they are vaccinated.

The higher immunogenicity flu vaccine provides coverage against the same 4 influenza strains included in the standard quadrivalent vaccines for under 65 year olds.

Employers wanting reliable, up-to-date information about Covid-19 may find the following document helpful: https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2020/03/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-employers.pdf 

 

COVID-19, a novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) was first identified in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, during a respiratory illness epidemic. It causes symptoms of fever, shortness of breath, cough, sore throat and other symptoms such as loss of smell.


Last updated 08/01/2021

 

What is a Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness in humans and animals. They are called Coronaviruses because they look like a ‘corona’, or crown, under the microscope. Human Coronaviruses usually cause a mild respiratory illness, the common cold, characterised by low grade fever, sore throat, runny nose, cough and fatigue.

Rarely, animal Coronaviruses can evolve and spread to infect humans with more severe respiratory illness. Recent examples are the SARS virus in 2002 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and the MERS virus in 2012 (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome).

What is the novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)?
SARS-CoV-2 is a new (novel) strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. It was first identified in the city of Wuhan, China. There is ongoing investigation to learn more about how it is spread, its severity, and other features associated with SARS-CoV-2. It can cause the disease called COVID-19.

 

How is the SARS-CoV-2 spread?
Human-to-human transmission is most likely through direct exposure to infectious people, via contact with respiratory droplets, air the person has breathed into, or so-called fomites (contaminated objects and surfaces).

 

What are the symptoms of infection with SARS-CoV-2?
Patients who become infected with SARS-CoV-2 and get sick are designated as having the disease called COVID-19. The symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, pneumonia and widespread organ disease.

People can be infected with SARS-CoV-2 and have no symptoms of COVID-19. These people are called “asymptomatic” carriers of the infection because they have no symptoms. People can transmit the infection to other people when they are asymptomatic. Additionally, it can take up to 14 days after exposure to SARS-CoV-2 to develop symptoms of COVID-19. This is called the incubation period. People can transmit the infection to other people during this incubation period.

Who is at risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2?
People who are living in, or travelling to and from affected areas or people who have had contact with other cases are at risk of catching the disease.

Elderly people, and people with underlying chronic illnesses that make them more vulnerable to respiratory disease, including those with pre-existing lung disease, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, pregnant women, and people with suppressed immune systems are at a higher risk.

How can infection be prevented?

Social distancing and hand hygiene are critically important measures to prevent the spread of the disease. This will continue to be important even when the Australian COVID-19 vaccine program is underway.

Any person with symptoms of runny nose, cough, sore throat, or trouble breathing should get tested and isolate, and seek medical attention where necessary.

COVID-19 Vaccines

There are now vaccines which can prevent COVID-19. They will be released in Australia in February 2021. High priority (such as healthcare workers) and high risk groups will be first to be offered the vaccine and continue throughout 2021 until all Australians have had the opportunity to have a COVID-19 vaccine plus any booster dose required (usually 3-4 weeks after the first dose). Please note that Flu vaccines prevent infection with the Influenza virus and do not prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2.

The approval and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines for Australians is a process controlled by the Australian Federal Government.

During 2021 and beyond, it is likely that at least two vaccine brands will be available in Australia e.g. the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine which been approved by the UK and US Governments. This may be followed by the University of Oxford/Astra Zeneca vaccine, with others being offered as 2021 progresses. This is due to the Australian Government having 4 separate agreements for the supply of 4 types of COVID-19 vaccines, if they are proved to be safe and effective.

High-priority groups will be offered the vaccine first, most likely via hospital-based clinics. This includes:

  • those who have an increased risk of developing severe disease
  • those at risk of exposure, being infected with and transmitting the virus
  • those working in services critical to society functioning

After the Government can ensure all high priority groups have been offered the vaccine, they may engage community and workplace-based vaccination providers such as Medimobile to help offer and administer the vaccines to those who are yet to receive it. The details of how this may work, and the timeframe have not yet been released by Government.

It will not be mandatory for all Australians to have the vaccine. While the Australian Government supports immunisation, it is not mandatory and individuals maintain the option to choose not to vaccinate.

Further information on the COVID-19 vaccines and the program rollout will be provided in the coming weeks and months.

More information about COVID-19 vaccines can be obtained here:

https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/about-covid-19-vaccines

For further information about SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 visit:

https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/what-you-need-to-know-about-coronavirus-covid-19

Or obtain Information directly from your State/Territory Health Department, via their respective websites and Facebook pages.

 

If you suspect you may have the novel coronavirus, please call the dedicated hotline on 1800 020 080 or find your local testing centre and get tested.

 

$50 REWARDS CARD

Refer another company to Medimobile for their corporate flu vaccinations and for every successful referral we will send you a $50 rewards card. You can use the Medimobile rewards card for just about anything, from movie tickets, plane tickets and holidays to restaurants, groceries and even petrol.

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