More vaccines on the way


sign that says: 'flu jab next exit'

The Guild says pharmacies can still usually find flu vaccine stock, as the mainstream media reports on shortages

The Guild says pharmacies can still usually find flu vaccine stock, as the mainstream media reports on shortages

Fairfax reporter Kate Aubusson has written on Wednesday that pharmacies are beginning to run out of the 2019 influenza vaccine, with “unprecedented” numbers of people seeking immunisation against the flu.

While vaccines on the NIP are still largely available from GP surgeries for those who can access them, pharmacies are low on stock, or running out, she wrote.

“Customers at several pharmacies in Sydney have been told that there are no more flu vaccines left in Australia, or to hurry in and pick up one of their few remaining doses.”

Meanwhile the West Australian reports that the Pharmacy Guild’s Matthew Tweedie has highlighted “growing reports” from pharmacists that vaccines stocks were running low.

“There is stock available in pharmacies but you might find you have to phone around to find out who is still holding some,” he said.

Health Minister Greg Hunt has stated that Australia is on track for a record number of flu vaccinations in 2019 with an additional 400,000 flu vaccines to be brought into the country over the coming weeks to meet the unprecedented demand.

“Already over 12.1 million flu vaccines have been released into the market including 7.5 million for the National Immunisation Program (NIP) and state and territory vaccination programs and 4.6 million doses for the private market,” he said.

“Supplies for the NIP and state and territory government programs are currently secure however there has been unprecedented demand for flu vaccines in the private market.

“I have been working with vaccines companies to ensure that there is sufficient supply in the private market.”

He said Sanofi plans to bring another 400,000 FluQuadri vaccines into the country, which will be made available via GPs and community pharmacy.

“This will take the overall number of flu vaccines available in Australia this year to over 12.5 million an increase from 11 million in 2018.”

The national Guild has acknowledged that community pharmacies are experiencing strong demand for the flu vaccine as a result of the early onset of the flu this year and its unexpected severity.

Acting National President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia Trent Twomey said some pharmacies were reporting that their stocks of flu vaccines were running low.

“However I would stress that while there may be isolated cases of pharmacies running very low on vaccines, at the moment they can usually source supplies from other pharmacies that have stock or from manufacturers,” Mr Twomey said.

“I also welcome the statement from the Minister for Health Greg Hunt today that he has been working closely with the manufacturers of vaccines to ensure there is continuity of supply in the private market, including through community pharmacies.

“Keeping supply to the private market as well as to the National Immunisation Program is vitally important to ensure community immunity.”

Mr Twomey said the Minister had indicated manufacturers were addressing the issue of stocks running low.

“For instance Sanofi has said it will bring a further 400,000 vaccines to Australia which will be made available through general practice and community pharmacy.

“These additional stocks are expected to arrive within weeks.

“As Minister Hunt said, this will take the overall number of flu vaccines available in Australia this year to more than 12.5 million, an increase from 11 million in 2018.”

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