Dr Anthony Hobbs,
A/g CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER
26 May 2018
An additional 800,000 influenza vaccines secured for the National Immunisation Program
The Australian Government has secured an additional 800,000 influenza vaccines for Australians right across the country.
This includes an additional 500,000 doses, which will be manufactured in Parkville Melbourne.
This is on top of almost 10 million doses which have already been released this flu season under the National Immunisation Program (NIP), state programs and the private market.
This now represents an increase of 26.5 per cent from last year.
A record number of Australians have already received the influenza vaccine this year and it is good news that people have heard the message to get vaccinated.
Of the total vaccines in the country, the Australian Government has made available over 5.1 million doses of seasonal influenza vaccines through the NIP.
Enhanced trivalent vaccines specifically designed for the elderly make up more than 3.4 million of these doses, which is enough to vaccinate more than 85 per cent of all individuals aged 65 years and older nationally.
We have seen significant demand for seasonal influenza vaccines across the NIP, state and private market supplies.
We will continue to monitor the supply of influenza vaccines and we will secure further doses if required.
Importantly I will continue to liaise closely with Chief Health Officers in each state and territory, who are responsible for forecasting and distributing of NIP vaccines locally.
This week we secured 93,000 doses of trivalent seasonal influenza vaccines. These are currently being distributed nationally.
By late next week a further 150,000 doses of quadrivalent vaccines will arrive in Australia and be distributed as quickly as possible to vaccination providers around the country.
I am also pleased to announce that Seqirus Australia Pty Ltd has agreed to re-commence production of Australian seasonal influenza vaccines to ensure the NIP is able to meet demand. From mid-July, an additional 500,000 doses of Afluria Quad will be available for the NIP.
Arrangements for a further 80,000 quadrivalent vaccine doses are being finalised.
These vaccines will be available ahead of the anticipated peak period of seasonal influenza transmission, which is usually August or September.
Vaccinating in June and July provides sufficient time for immunity to develop.
We have heard that the availability of vaccines varies across all providers. We encourage patients to check with their provider that a vaccine is available ahead of attending appointments and/or to call around to find a provider who has a vaccine available.
Vaccination providers are encouraged to offer those aged 65 years and older an advanced trivalent vaccine, and only offer a quadrivalent vaccine if a trivalent vaccine is not available. Individuals aged 65 years and older should only receive one dose of seasonal influenza vaccine – providing both a quadrivalent and trivalent vaccine is not recommended