National flu shot shortage eases

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

SA Health communicable disease control branch director Dr Louise Flood said there had been almost 1700 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 70-80pc 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.”

More than 510,000 vaccines have been distributed since March and additional stock is on hand for those in high-risk groups 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 five in South Australia.

In South Australia, there have been 1694 notifications of flu this year to date, compared to 6146 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.