Written by the home doctor Gold Coast team

Influenza vaccinations will prioritize vulnerable groups as we head into winter.

flu vaccine in pregnancy

Not long ago we published an article discussing the Brisbane, which also looked at how the Victorian Government was preparing for the upcoming flu season more than other States.

It’s now been revealed Victoria is in short supply of flu vaccinations and so is New South Wales.

According to Victoria’s Health Minister Jill Hennessy, flu vaccines will be reserved for the most vulnerable, including people with certain kinds of illnesses, the elderly and children.

“Until we can get the assurance from the Commonwealth Government there’s flu vaccines available for all…we’re rationing our flu vaccines for the most vulnerable groups,” Ms Hennessy said.

So how has this shortage happened, particularly given the predicted demand for flu vaccinations early on? Here’s all the information you need to know.

What was promised?

Nationwide, all States are offered free vaccinations to those aged over 65, pregnant women, most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, those who suffer from chronic conditions and children under the age of five.

The Victorian Government expanded this offering to include:

  • Giving 17 of the State’s largest health services extra funding for more patients admitted to hospital with the flu (a total of $50 million).
  • Giving The Royal Children’s Hospital funds, which would be used to supply extra short-stay beds.

Although these promises were fulfilled, the demand for flu vaccines was more than expected for the State. There have been a total of 13,408 confirmed cases of Influenza in Australia for 2018, at the start of 28 May.

Australian flu statistics by state before May 2018

What went wrong?

The shortage of flu vaccines is simply being blamed on the unprecedented demand, as there’s already a 30 per cent increase in people wanting the vaccine compared to 2017.

According to the Department of Health’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Anthony Hobbs, more vaccinations have been organised to ensure there’s a solid supply for all States.

It’s predicted additional available vaccines are will roll out across the nation in a couple of weeks.

For people unable to access the vaccine for free, it can cost anywhere between $10 and $40. Thankfully for Queenslanders, there are still free flu vaccinations available for those who are eligible.

Hospital admission numbers are on the rise across Queensland because of the flu and people are still being urged to get the vaccine while they can.

If you haven’t already had the flu shot, consult with your regular doctor to gain further advice on how to arrange this – particularly the elderly and young children.

Have you suffered from the flu want to see a doctor during after-hours call 13 55 66 for an After hours Gp in Brisbane?