'Flu vaccine season - with Nikki Turner and Jeff Kwong

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With the annual flu season looming, GPs are anticipating a frenzy of vaccinations, perhaps more so than ever this year. As so many 'flu and respiratory viruses circulate every year, and as the 'flu vaccine is for one strain of influenza only, is the vaccine worth getting, and what are the risks associated with vaccinating vs. not vaccinating? In this week’s episode, we discuss the high vaccine uptake in New Zealand, and the role that social distancing for COVID-19 may have played in their low numbers of seasonal flu. We also talk about whether or not the message we give to patients about the benefits and risks of vaccination is transparent enough, and how we might communicate better with them to allow them to make an informed decision. We feel pressure to increase vaccination rates, because we believe we are protecting people, but does the evidence support that? Our guests: Nikki Turner is the director of the Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC) at the university of Auckland. She is an academic general practitioner, and a professor at the university.

Jeff Kwong is a professor at the University of Toronto, and the interim director of the Centre for Vaccine Preventable Diseases at the university’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health.

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