Flu Shot Needs Boost

Australians are being warned not to underestimate the potential threat posed by influenza, with uptake of the season shot lagging behind last year’s rates.

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has urged patients to heed the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation’s (ATAGI’s) recommendation to get vaccinated against the flu.

Freeman said data from the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) showed flu vaccination uptake this year is at less than 40% compared with the same time last year, adding that community pharmacies across the country were suitably stocked to immunise patients, with many stores able to accommodate walk-ins.

“Unlike the COVID-19 vaccine, supply [of flu shots] is plentiful and there are no rollout phases,” he said.

“Everyone is welcome and encouraged to come forward and receive their influenza vaccine.

“Whilst you are waiting for your COVID-19 vaccine, there is still plenty everyone can do to support our community and protect Australia’s most vulnerable. “One of the best ways is to get immunised against influenza, remembering we need 14 clear days between COVID-19 immunisation and other immunisations.

“So don’t forget about your flu shot.”

Freeman noted that pharmacies were easily accessible for most Australians, with 95% of capital city residents living within 2km of a community pharmacy, while 65% of rural Australians residing similarly close to a pharmacy.

Source: Pharmacy Daily, viewed 26 April 2021.