Winter 2017 has seen the highest reported number of confirmed Influenza notifications on record in Australia for seasonal Influenza illness and is continuing into Spring.
When the Influenza virus causes illness it may be mild for many people but can be very severe or even life-threatening in others who develop complications needing hospitalisation. With Influenza, most young & fit people recover well, but some do not. In fact, half of the children who are admitted to hospital with severe Influenza complications had no previous medical condition and 10% were so severe they were admitted directly to ICU.
It is true that Influenza illness may still occur even in those who were vaccinated. However, vaccination works very well in preventing severe illness in most people, including healthy children and fit adults. However, the immune systems of elderly people and others who have chronic diseases may not respond as well to the vaccine and they are more likely to suffer severe illness. There are some people who need to have 2 doses of the vaccine for it to work most effectively. Higher dose vaccines are currently in process of licensing for future use in elderly people for this reason.
There are also specific anti-Influenza medications available that can be used to treat Influenza illness once symptoms appear. However, these are generally effective only if given within the first 24-48 hours after onset of Influenza illness.
Therefore, please note (a) it is not too late to have Influenza vaccination any time up to the end of the infectious period, usually around October each year in Victoria, and (b) if you develop symptoms that may be Influenza (whether or not you had the vaccine that year), make sure you see a doctor as early as possible in your illness in case you may need specific treatment early.