KeepHealthCare.ORG – Flu vaccine shortage; fears allayed
FEARS Logan was headed for a flu vaccine shortage have been quelled with the State Government reassuring residents the city had adequate supplies.
Concerns were raised last week, when the federal government admitted there was a shortage of the drug and it was forced to buy an extra 800,000 doses from overseas.
On Sunday, federal Health Minister Greg Hunt doused the fears and said the new vaccine supply would be in the country in time for the peak of the flu season, typically between July and August.
Forde MP Bert van Manen backed up that claim saying the national shortage did not extend to Logan, where he was confident the supply of the vaccine was adequate to cope with a 25 per cent hike in demand.
Queensland Health said it had plenty of supplies of the vaccine for children between six months and three years. Children aged over three are given the adult vaccine.
The Health Department said it was carefully managing its stock of influenza vaccine for the National Immunisation Program but was not regulating or supplying vaccine through the private sector.
Queensland ordered extra supply of the vaccine this year after last year’s record of 56,096 cases of influenza, with 13,164 of those in Metro South, which takes in Logan.
So far this year, there have been 4315 cases of flu notified across the State with 894 in the Logan-Metro South area, down on the 902 cases recorded at this time last year for the Logan-Metro-South area.
Logan residents wanting the flu vaccination should go to their GP, pharmacies or to council-run clinics and not Logan Hospital.
“The hospital is not vaccinating for the flu,” Queensland Health said.
“There have been several discussions between the Commonwealth, and the states and territories about influenza vaccine supply.
“But it does have a machine to test patients for the virus with results known in 30 minutes.”
It is free for children aged under five, pregnant women, anyone over 65, indigenous people over 15, and those with medical conditions including asthma or diabetes.
For everyone else, it costs about $20.
Queensland Health plays no role in regulating or supplying vaccine through the private sector.
Leading pharmacy group TerryWhite Chemmart said it was continuing to administer flu vaccinations and take bookings despite the national shortage.