Bunbury community urged to get their flu shots

The South West community is being urged to get their influenza vaccine with an unusually severe flu season approaching.

Patients no longer need to go through their doctors or get a script and can now go straight to one of the three pharmacies in town to get the shot.

The flu season is forecast to run from June to October and is projected to be almost twice as severe as last year.

TerryWhite Chemmart pharmacist Ryan Norris said there were 19,058 cases of influenza in Australia in 2019 as of March 25, compared to 10,342 the same time last year.

This is despite 2018 having been seen as a bad flu season. 

Mr Norris said it was especially important for elderly patients to get their shots early. 

Pharmacists hope to get 90 per cent of the population vaccinated to ensure 'herd immunity'. 

"The vaccination is a very good idea and it protects you against the nasty flu," Mr Norris said.

"It heightens your immune system, so you don't usually get it as bad as what it would normally be.

"But the biggest thing about getting the vaccination is that if the majority are vaccinated, the rest are protected through herd immunity."

Mr Norris said while the flu may not seem like a serious illness for a healthy middle-aged or young person, it could be very serious for an older person with other health conditions. 

"You're not just getting vaccinated for yourself, you're getting vaccinated to provide that herd immunity for the community," he said.