Seniors doubling up on flu vaccines could be exacerbating the shortage, warns the AMA’s new president
Dr Tony Bartone, new president of the AMA, has told the Border-Mail that older Australians who are having two influenza vaccines could “threaten vaccine supply”.
His comments follow those of Queensland Health’s Medical Director of the Immunisation Program Dr Alun Richards last month, who moved to reassure older Australians that two vaccines were not necessary, after reports that some were concerned the high-strength free vaccine for over-65s would not protect them against two B strains and having both the free vaccine, and a quadrivalent.
“There have been multiple reports of vaccines running out,” Dr Bartone has now told the Border-Mail.
“We really need to be very judicious in our use of resources and make sure we have adequate supplies.”
Meanwhile Sanofi Pasteur has confirmed that its latest shipment of additional influenza vaccines had arrived in Australia as part of the company’s push to plug the local influenza vaccine gap.
This latest shipment includes 150,000 vaccines suitable for people aged 3 years to 65 years.
Russell Jacobson, General Manager Sanofi Pasteur Australia, said Sanofi Pasteur has now been able to provide more than a million more doses than originally planned for Australia to help reduce influenza vaccine wait times. Those vaccines have been distributed via the National Immunisation Program, state based programs and the private market.
“With early demand for influenza vaccines so high we have been working hard to meet new supply requests from government,” he said.
“Our Australian team has been working across our global supply chain to identify, source and secure as many additional influenza vaccines as possible.”
Greg Hunt, Minister for Health, said, “I want to thank Sanofi for their support in delivering an additional 600,000 doses of Fluzone High Dose and FluQuadri through the National Immunisation Program.
“It’s great news that a record number of Australians have already received the influenza vaccine this year and these additional doses will ensure many more are also protected,” the Minister said.