It’s been recognised that people over 65 are at a higher risk of developing serious complications from the flu compared with younger adults because our immune defences become weaker with age. Deaths in the aging populations are usually due to complications from the virus, like heart attacks, pneumonia or strokes.

The flu vaccination is an important preventative tool for people with chronic health conditions. It can reduce worsening and hospitalisation for flu-related chronic lung disease, such as, in persons with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It is important to get vaccinate against influenza every year, as the virus changes year to year.

Flu season in Australia is usually June to September and peaks in August. Unfortunately, we are also dealing with the new Coronavirus – COVID19. Both viruses are transmitted in the same way; via respiratory droplets. Both require us to practice good hygiene and proper etiquette. This means frequent and through handwashing and covering coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue and if you are feeling sick avoiding contact with others.

Unlike influenza, for which we have medicine and vaccines, there are currently no vaccines or drugs for treating COVID-19. The flu vaccine isn’t effective against coronavirus, but it is recommended you get vaccinated if you can. We don’t want to get the flu and COVID-19 at the same time! As often happens during tough times, people come together. The following tips have been put together by the global community of people who use drugs to help keep our village safe.


1. DON’T SHARE fits, pipes, bongs, vapes, joints, smokes and all injecting equipment including sterile water and tourniquets.

2. If you can, try to STOCK UP on your drug/s of choice in case things deteriorate further.

3. Please ensure you take EXTRA injecting supplies just in case you are unable to access QuIHN or other services. Try to get enough for around 3-4 weeks.

4. If you are on OST (methadone or bupe) check with your doctor, clinic or dosing point about arrangements. Eg. what to do if you become unwell. Talk to staff about extra take away doses that could be provided to you. You may also need to sort out monthly script renewals or change appointments. You can also ring QPAMS on 1800 175 889 for opioid treatment info and support.

5. If your drug supplier gets sick, try to have back up plans.

6. Make sure you have all necessary medications, food and drinks.

7. Wipe down drug packages/wraps with alcohol-based cleansers once you’ve picked them up.

8. Avoid putting drug packages in your mouth, vagina or butt. If you must carry it in your body, clean it with an alcohol-based cleaner/swabs before and after you take it out.

9. WASH YOUR HANDS with soap and hot water vigorously for at least 20 seconds (longer if you can), every time you have contact with others, after handling money and after you get your drugs. Paper towels are the best option for drying your hands.

10. PREPARE YOUR DRUGS YOURSELF and try not to handle or touch other people’s equipment/drugs and don’t let them touch yours.

11. Coronavirus can be transmitted by close contact and kissing – so it’s a godo time to ease off sex/snogging and failing that, always practice sfe sex. Remember: QuIHN supplies free condoms and lube.

12. If you have symptoms or think you’re getting sick, AVOID GOING TO YOUR LOCAL SERVICES – Ask QuIHN  if we can post equipment to you.

13. Be prepared for the possibility of some needle syringe programs and drug treatment programs closing (and drug detoxs/rehabs)

14. Remember if you have existing health issues (eg: lung disease/liver disease) you are more at risk of contracting COVID19 – keep yourself safe.