Information regarding the 2020 flu vaccine

Annual flu vaccination is an important measure to safeguard the health of you and those around you, particularly if you fall into a higher risk category such as:

• People aged 65 years and older
• Pregnant women (at any stage of pregnancy)
• All children aged from 6 months to 5 years of age
• People aged 6 months and older with medical conditions such as severe asthma, lung or heart disease, low immunity or diabetes.
• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged six months and older.

The flu vaccine is available for free under the National Immunisation Program for patients who fall into these higher risk categories.

Immunisation for flu has also been widely recommended this year due to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Although the flu vaccine won’t combat COVID-19, it can help reduce the severity and spread of seasonal influenza, which can lower a person’s immunity and make them susceptible to other illnesses. Increased flu and COVID-19 patients requiring urgent healthcare will also put a massive strain on Australian healthcare resources and potentially put lives at risk.

Normally, Australians are advised to wait until mid-April or May to get their annual flu shot to ensure optimal protection across the flu season, however due to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, health authorities have recently recommended earlier vaccination.

Unfortunately the government announcements and media coverage recommending early flu vaccination have not addressed the supply and logistic demands required to facilitate such a recommendation. Government funded flu vaccine supply in particular has been unreliable due to:

– Confirmation of flu vaccine order requests no longer being issued.
– All phone, fax or email enquiries to check stock levels or estimated delivery dates now go unanswered.

Ultimately this has resulted in widespread flu vaccine stock shortages with patchy ongoing supply and no confirmed delivery dates which is clearly frustrating for both patients and front line healthcare providers.

We have set up a flu vaccine wait list for patients which, as of 9th April 2020, is already very lengthy due to overwhelming demand. We are aware that many of these waitlisted patients fall into a higher risk category. Please be assured that we will endeavour to work through the waitlist as quickly as possible once flu vaccine supplies arrive, and in the meantime, we thank you all for your patience and understanding during this unprecedented health crisis.

Please call the clinic on (03) 9859 8756 if you would like to enquire about flu vaccine availability or to join the waitlist.