Flu Season is Here

The Influenza Specialist Group (ISG), Australia’s leading influenza medical expert body, estimates that a quarter or more of the Australian population, could face an increased risk of severe complication when contracting influenza this season. Many of the people at risk, because of an underlying medical condition, are in the younger age groups and consider themselves flu-­â??proof. ISG data shows that only 30-­â??40 per cent of people in this high risk category are being immunised.

As we enter this flu season, the Australia-wide push is growing for pharmacists to be empowered to administer vaccines, just as they do in most comparable countries.  It’s a common sense measure that would significantly increase the number of locations where vaccination could be readily and safely accessed.

People tend to think of the flu as an illness that afflicts the elderly. In fact, 31 per cent of people under 65 who belong to one or more of the at risk categories are not aware they could develop severe complications if they contract the flu.

In addition, those who consider themselves young and healthy are not immune either. This past flu season in the United States has hit hardest on young and middle-aged adults, with the majority of influenza-associated hospitalisations (61.6 per cent) occurring in those 18 to 64 years old. Historically, what occurs in the northern hemisphere winter may reflect the coming influenza activity in Australia, so it’s a timely reminder that even the young and healthy should get flu shots.

For more info about the flu, and the vaccine click here.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has again issued safety advice for use of influenza vaccines in children this flu season.

The TGA website features advice for influenza vaccines for :

  • Children from the age of 6 months
  • Children from the age of 5 years
  • Children from the age of 9 years
  • Vaccine strains for 2014

You can access this advice here. 


Source:, Friday 21 March 2014