Flu vaccine stocks to be boosted after early rush saps supplies across Australia

Written by on 26/05/2018

An extra 800,000 doses of the flu vaccine will be manufactured in response to increasing shortages across Australia.

Key points:

  • 800,000 new doses of flu vaccine ordered
  • Shortages reported in NSW, Victoria and ACT
  • A rush on vaccines in 2018 follows a horror flu season in 2017

The announcement comes as some doctors have had to turn patients away because supplies are being redirected to the most vulnerable people, such as those aged over 65.

Acting Chief medical officer Dr Tony Hobbs said a record number of Australians have already received the flu vaccine in 2018.

“We have seen significant demand for seasonal influenza vaccines across the National Immunisation Program, state and private market supplies,” he said.

“We will continue to monitor the supply of influenza vaccines and we will secure further doses if required.”

A horror flu season in 2017 has seen a rush on flu vaccines in 2018, with many people getting vaccinated much earlier than normal.

That has lead to shortages across the country.

100 years ago, a new strain of the influenza virus was just starting to spread around the globe. It soon claimed more lives than World War I.

Australian Medical Association NSW vice president Dr Danielle McMullen told the ABC that supply issues were not widespread.

“We’re seeing some shortage of the FluQuadri vaccination, which is one of six different brands of vaccination that we have available this year,” she said.

“That vaccine is safe to give to people aged between three and 64.”

Dr Hobbs said the vaccines will be available ahead of the anticipated peak period of seasonal influenza transmission, which is usually August or September.

He said getting vaccinated in June and July provides sufficient time for immunity to develop.

Almost 10 million doses of the flu vaccine have already been distributed in 2018.

Most of the new vaccine supply will be manufactured in Melbourne.

Health authorities are urging people who want the vaccine to check that their doctors have an adequate supply.



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