More flu vaccines on the way

The Health Minister says an additional two million flu vaccines will be available from this week, as TerryWhite Chemmart says it’s on track to vaccinate half a million

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt says that the two million doses will bring the total number available in 2020 to a record 18 million.

“The additional two million flu vaccines manufactured in Australia by Seqirus are being distributed to GPs and pharmacist (sic) from this week and over June,” the Minister said in a statement.

“These additional vaccines were secured by the Australian Government in response to unprecedented demand due to the COVID-19 outbreak.”

Sequiris itself said in a statement on Wednesday that around one million of the doses would be rolled out over the next three weeks.

“We’ve seen extremely strong demand for flu vaccines this year – it’s fantastic to see so many Australians listening to expert advice on the importance of flu vaccination programs,” said Seqirus Executive Director Commercial Operations, Danielle Dowell.

“The Seqirus manufacturing team in Victoria have been working incredibly hard to turn around these additional doses so that as many Australians as possible can protect themselves from flu, because we know that flu vaccination programs will be more important than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Mr Hunt said that more than 7.3 million flu vaccines have already been administered by doctors and pharmacists and entered into the Australian Immunisation Register this year.

“This compares to 4.5 million doses administered and entered for the same period last year, and over double the 3.5 million in 2018,” he said.

Meanwhile TerryWhite Chemmart has warned that with restrictions around limiting the spread of COVID-19 beginning to ease, the rate of influenza infection could rise.

“Our pharmacists vaccinated more Australians in the first four weeks of launch in early March than in the 2019 season and now that we have a new supply of stock, we are on track to vaccinate more Australians this year than the last two seasons combined,” said TerryWhite Chemmart CEO Duncan Phillips.  

“It was pleasing to see the significant increase of people being vaccinated early in the season as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but with the unprecedented demand early in the season, some people may have found it difficult to secure a vaccination.”

TerryWhite Chemmart is on track to vaccinate more than 500,000 Australians this year, the group said.

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