Sick, elderly and kids get flu jab in Vic

Flu vaccines in Victoria will be rationed to the vulnerable, says Health Minister Jill Hennessy.Victoria’s children, sick and elderly will get first dibs on the state’s flu vaccine supply until the Commonwealth can get a “solid supply” for the rest of the population, the state’s health minister says.
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Jill Hennessy told reporters on Wednesday the jab would be rationed to “the vulnerable” until there was a stable supply after record numbers of people had opted for the vaccine, causing a shortage.

“Until we can get the assurance from the commonwealth government there’s flu vaccine available for all … we’re rationing our flu vaccines for the most vulnerable groups. They are largely people with certain kinds of illnesses, for the elderly and for young children,” Ms Hennessy said.

“But we want the flu vaccine to be available for all and that’s why we have called upon the federal government to get more assertive and organised about ensuring a solid supply.”

She wrote to the federal government last week about the expected availability of the vaccine and has been told additional orders have been placed and are due to arrive in a couple of weeks.

It comes after 121 aged care residents suffered flu-related deaths in Victoria last year.

More than five million doses of the seasonal flu vaccine have been brought into under the National Immunisation Program but increased demand has impacted supply, federal health authorities told AAP on Monday.

“According to states and territories, compared to last year, there has been a 25-30 per cent increase in demand,” Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Hobbs said in a statement.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has released 9.6 million doses of influenza vaccines under the immunisation program, state programs and the private market as of Monday.

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