Vac­cines help re­duce flu rates

Herald Sun - - NEWS - AN­THONY GAL­LOWAY

AUS­TRALIA has the low­est rates of in­fluenza in half a decade af­ter a mas­sive in­crease in peo­ple get­ting the flu shot.

Only 52,000 cases of the flu were re­ported so far this year, com­pared with al­most 250,000 last year — the most flu re­ports in al­most a decade.

A record 11 mil­lion Aus­tralians had a flu jab in 2018 — al­most a third more than 2017.

Health Min­is­ter Greg Hunt said new en­hanced vac­cines were made avail­able for el­derly Aus­tralians, en­sur­ing more peo­ple re­ceived the flu shot.

“More than 3.4 mil­lion more doses of the in­fluenza vac­cine were made avail­able, enough to vac­ci­nate more than 85 per cent of all in­di­vid­u­als aged 65 years and older,” Mr Hunt said.

“There was also un­prece­dented de­mand for in­fluenza vac­cine early in the 2018 sea­son, which led the gov­ern­ment to se­cure an ad­di­tional 1.3 mil­lion doses of the vac­cine for the Na­tional Im­mu­ni­sa­tion Pro­gram, state pro­grams and the pri­vate mar­ket.

“De­liv­er­ing vac­cines to peo­ple in most need of pro­tec­tion would not have been pos­si­ble without the col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween GPs and other vac­ci­na­tion providers across Aus­tralia.”

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