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Influenza vaccine available ahead of peak flu season

The national influenza vaccine shortage has eased following the supply of further influenza vaccines. Restricting influenza vaccines to high risk groups is no longer required.

South Australia has seen an increase in influenza notifications over the past two weeks, suggesting the influenza season has commenced although typically the peak flu season is during August and September. In the past week 29 cases of influenza were notified to the Communicable Disease Control Branch (CDCB). A total of 1,694 cases of influenza have been notified this year, compared to 6,146 over the same period in 2017.  

Immunisation providers are advised to offer influenza vaccine to all persons aged ≥6 months of age, with particular focus on the following groups:

  • Persons at high risk of severe influenza infection:
    • Pregnant women
    • Children aged 6 months to less than 5 years
    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons aged 15 years and older
    • Persons aged over 65 years
    • Persons with medical conditions associated with an increased risk of influenza disease complications. See ATAGI influenza advice available.
  • Health care workers and workers in residential aged care facilities.

Doctors are advised to limit the spread of influenza by:

  • Encouraging respiratory etiquette (e.g. cover cough or sneeze with tissue or arm) and hand hygiene in all persons.
  • Excluding persons with influenza-like illness from childcare, preschool, school or work.
  • Considering early treatment of influenza-like illness with anti-viral medication (e.g. oseltamivir), particularly in those at high risk of severe influenza infection.

Further clinical information is available at www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/InfectiousDiseaseControl  

For all enquires please contact the CDCB on 1300 232 272 (24 hours/7 days)   

Dr Louise Flood – Director, Communicable Disease Control Branch


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