Flu vaccine stocks boosted ahead of peak flu season

Stock image.
Stock image.

A FURTHER 33,000 doses of the flu vaccine arrived in WA this week, ahead of next month’s expected peak season.

There have already been 696 cases of flu reported since the start of winter.

Health Minister Roger Cook said it was not too late to get vaccinated to avoid the peak of the season.

“Each year our hospital emergency departments are put under additional pressure during the peak flu season, due to patients presenting with flu and flu-like symptoms,” he said.

“With the onset of colder weather, we expect to see an increase in influenza cases.

“Given the seriousness of the disease, it is important that people ensure they get the flu vaccine.

“Even if you are young and healthy or you rarely get sick, getting vaccinated helps to protect others in the community who are at increased risk of flu complications.”

In 2018 more than 500,000 doses of flu vaccine, funded under the National Immunisation Program, have already been distributed in WA.

The flu vaccine is available free through immunisation providers, including GP clinics, community health clinics or Aboriginal medical services for eligible at-risk groups.

These include young children, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, pregnant women, people aged 65 years and above and those with chronic medical conditions.

People not eligible for the free vaccine can get it through their GP or at a participating chemist.

Some private providers may charge a fee to administer the flu vaccine and people are advised to discuss this with their doctor or immunisation clinic when making an appointment.

Fact box

In 2017, there were 6,044 confirmed cases of flu in WA with almost 1-in-every- 4 (23 per cent) of these cases requiring hospitalisation, including:

44 per cent of people aged 65 years and over

27 per cent of children under 5 years of age