CSL Seqirus has confirmed that its influenza vaccines are now available for supply to private vaccination providers, including pharmacists and GPs.
The company said it will be supplying more than eight million flu vaccines to private vaccination providers and the National Immunisation Program (NIP).
According to the latest data from the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care, there have been over 13,500 confirmed flu cases as of yesterday (22 March). In 2022, this volume of lab-confirmed cases wasn’t seen until early May.
According to Natasha Rees, the director of influenza at CSL Seqirus, “Flu is unpredictable so we never know exactly when the season might begin or when cases might peak. Vaccination typically begins in April to allow enough time for people to be vaccinated prior to the season, but we’re pleased to have accelerated supply so that our vaccines are available now to private vaccination providers.
“Our other influenza vaccines are available on the NIP and will become available through GPs and pharmacists when the states roll out the NIP program."
The latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics also shows that international arrivals exceeded 1.6 million in January. This is the most since before the imposition of pandemic-related travel restrictions in February 2020.
Julianne Bayliss, the medical director of vaccines and biosecurity at CSL Seqirus, said that seasonal flu can be sparked by travellers visiting, or returning, from the Northern Hemisphere.
“The volume of cases we’re seeing so far this year is more comparable to the patterns of circulation we saw prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent increases in international travel may be contributing. With cases already on the increase in 2023, it’s important that Australians talk to their GP or pharmacist about flu prevention options including vaccination.
“The flu virus changes every year which is why people are recommended to get vaccinated annually. Vaccination is the most important tool to help protect Australians from influenza and its complications.”
The World Health Organization and Australian Influenza Vaccine Committee make annual recommendations on what strains should be included in the vaccines. All 2023 flu vaccines contain four vaccine strains, including two A and two B strains.