Vaccine Shortage Eases Ahead Of Peak Flu Season

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

South Australians are being urged to get a flu shot now, as a national vaccine shortage eases, making it more readily available.

SA Health’s Director of Communicable Disease Control Branch, Dr Louise Flood, said there had been almost 1,700 cases of the flu notified to SA Health this year, and the worst of the flu season was still to come.

“Typically the peak of the flu season is during August and September, where we see 70-80 per cent of cases for the year,” Dr Flood said.

“While there has been high demand for flu vaccine this year, a national flu vaccine shortage has now eased, so providers no longer have to prioritise vaccinations for those in high-risk groups.  

“We’re urging everyone who hasn’t had a flu shot to make an appointment with their GP or pharmacist to get one now.

“In the past week there were 29 flu cases notified to us, and 55 cases the week before, so the flu is certainly doing the rounds in the community.”

More than 510,000 vaccines have been distributed since March and additional stock is on hand for those in high-risk groups who are eligible for free vaccinations under the National Immunisation Program including people over 65, pregnant women and those with underlying medical conditions.

“Flu vaccinations are also free for children under 5 in South Australia, so I would urge parents to make an appointment with their GP to have their children vaccinated,” Dr Flood said.

“Vaccinating younger children can also help protect vulnerable people in the community, including babies under six months who are too young to receive a flu vaccination.”

Children aged under 9 who have never had a flu vaccination will need two doses at least four weeks apart.

In South Australia, there have been 1,694 notifications of flu this year to date, compared to 6,146 cases reported for the same period last year, which was the worst flu season on record.

People who do become unwell should stay away from school, childcare and work until there has been no fever for 24 hours to help reduce any spread.

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