COVID-19 impacts flu vaccination supply

EFFECTS OF VIRUS

Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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Proprietor of LiveLife Pharmacy Port Douglas, Brad Reilly, said the pharmacy has felt the shortage of supply but hopes to soon have stocks replenished. Image: Karlie Brady.
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Pharmacies keen to meet the needs of their customers and provide the 2020 influenza vaccination, are feeling the effects of the coronavirus which has created a supply shortage.

And the Pharmacy Guild of Australia said the increased demand for flu shots was due both to COVID-19 health crisis, but also the severity of last year's flu season.

The guild's communications director, Greg Turnbull, said the coronavirus pandemic meant more people were paying attention to their health and realising the value of being vaccinated against the common flu.

For people who could not get vaccinated straight away because of short supplies, the advice is to book an appointment at their local pharmacy or GP clinic.

"Be patient, the stock is flowing and should be available in local pharmacies over the coming few days or certainly next couple of weeks," said Mr Turnbull. 

Brad Reilly, proprietor of LiveLife Pharmacy, Port Douglas, said while he has been impacted by the shortage and hoped to soon have his stocks replenished, he said this is a nation-wide problem.

“There is simply not enough stock in the system and I have to be perfectly honest when I say I do not have the vaccination in stock right now.

“I am obviously hoping this will change as quickly as possible. But I want to stress this is not only a Port Douglas problem, this is being felt across the country,” he said.

In terms of patients in the shire wanting to know more about the vaccination, and its availability, they are advised to contact their GP clinic.  

For more information, they are also advised to visit QLD Health.

The Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has said receiving a vaccination from this month provided optimal protection in the peak period of influenza circulation.

“This year it is even more important to be vigilant about the flu because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In total over 13.5 million doses of seasonal influenza vaccines have been secured for the National Immunisation Program and the private market in 2020,” he said in media reports.

The flu vaccination is funded via the National Immunisation Program and is free for people aged 65 years and over, pregnant women, all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged six months and older, and people aged six months and older with certain medical risk factors.


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