World is Watching Australia

Australia’s influenza vaccination campaign is set to be a model for the world, as the northern hemisphere prepares for its flu season.

Speaking at an International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) webinar last night, Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) Secretary General, Darragh O’Loughlin, said healthcare providers and authorities were looking at how Australia and New Zealand have managed to boost flu vaccination uptake during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“My Australian colleagues tell me that they saw significant extra vaccination activity [this year], especially in pharmacies,” he said. “It’s not yet flu vaccination season in the northern hemisphere, and we’re anticipating that there will be an increase in demand for flu vaccines, so we’re putting plans in place to learn from the experiences in the southern hemisphere, in Australia and New Zealand, where they did see a massive uptake.”

O’Loughlin added that the increased focus on hand-hygiene, cough etiquette and social distancing “which has not been pleasant for anybody”, could result in lower rates of flu infections.

The Australian flu season appears to be lending support to O’Loughlin’s assertion, with data from the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) showing the number of laboratory confirmed cases is significantly below the five-year average.

The latest NNDSS figures revealed a sharp and steady decline in flu cases since COVID-19 lockdown measures were implemented in late Mar, with 65 confirmed cases nationally in the two-week period from 29 Jun to 12 Jul.

Source: , viewed 24 July 2020