Record vaccinations slash flu rates

Australia experienced the lowest rates of influenza this year since 2013 after a record 11 million people were vaccinated.

This was nearly a third more than in 2017.

To date, only 52,000 cases of influenza have been reported in 2018, compared with nearly 250,000 cases in the same period last year.

In response to the 2017 flu season, the worst in Australia in almost a decade, the federal government made new enhanced vaccines available for the elderly to provide better protection.

Minister for Health Greg Hunt said 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.

“Unprecedented demand for the influenza vaccine was recorded 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,” Mr Hunt said.

“The vaccines were made available ahead of the peak period of seasonal influenza transmission, which occurred in early September this year.

“The number of deaths from influenza reduced substantially compared to last year, with 73 deaths reported compared to 1,137 deaths in the same period last year.

“This is a timely reminder to everyone that vaccinations work. I am absolutely committed to strengthening Australia’s world-class National Immunisation Program and urge all Australians to get vaccinated.

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