Flu vax rates jump

The ACT has released its flu vaccination figures to date, revealing vaccination rates have skyrocketed

Around 60% more influenza vaccines have been delivered into the ACT community this year, compared to the same period last year.

ACT Health Public Health Physician Dr Vanessa Johnston says the close to 90,000 influenza vaccines distributed to immunisation providers to date was a record and meant more people than ever before have been vaccinated against the flu in the Canberra community.

“This increase in the number of people immunised for the flu this year is a real positive,” Dr Johnston says.

“Vaccination is the best protection we have against Influenza and as we head into August and September, which is normally the peak of the flu season, our community is well prepared.”

One of the cohorts where there has been a significant increase in vaccination rates this year is children aged six months to under five years, with the ACT Government providing free flu vaccines this year.

There has been a 35% vaccination coverage rate for this cohort to date in 2018, compared to 5% in 2017.

The latest stats on flu also show the number of laboratory confirmed influenza notifications remain at low levels in the ACT.

Between 1 January and 22 July 2018, there were 180 notifications of influenza reported to ACT Health, of which only 14 occurred in the last fortnight to 22 July.

“In comparison, there were 316 notifications of influenza reported to ACT Health during the same time period in 2017,” Dr Johnston says.

“These low influenza notification rates are a good start, however, as we get closer to the peak of the flu season we are reminding Canberrans that it’s not too late to get your flu shot.”

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1 Comment

  1. David McRae

    The increased rate of flu vaccine takeup could mean greater immunity in the community, or it may not. We don’t know yet. The variable is the notoriously low effectiveness of flu vaccines. This includes the fact that viruses included in the vaccine are often not well related to the predominent ones making people sick in any given season. And there are possibly other factors that mean that many vaccinated individuals still get infected with influenza. Over many years flu vaccination has achieved effectiveness rates of somewhere between 20% to 50%. It is surprisingly poor. I don’t think anyone has yet come up with a complete, comprehensive summary of why the results of flu vaccination are (usually) so poor. Therefore we have a way to go this season before we can say that increased vaccination takeup resulted in a lower burden of disease this time around.

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