The shot that could help this winter

It may only be the end of May but pharmacies are already running out of flu shots, and the influenza is only getting started.

According to the Immunisation Coalition there have already been 3,998 cases of the flu reported in Western Australia as of the 30 of May.

That is over half the cases reported for the whole of 2018, which was 5,864 cases.

WA is currently experiencing its worst start to the flu season, with a reported 10 deaths related to this year’s influenza, in comparison to four deaths this time last year, according to the WA Health Department.

Sally Yong from Pharmacy 777 in Applecross Village says this has been the busiest the pharmacy has been for flu shots this year.

“We are seeing more walk ins, last year it was just me who could do it, but this year my manager got herself trained, so there are two of us and we oversee more flu shots …. Last year we did about 70 odd patients and this year we are already doing more than 100,” she said.

WA pharmacies are already experiencing wait lists off up to 50 people, with some waiting for two weeks for the new batches to come in.

Ms Yong says they have exceeded last year.

“Last year we only did five, this year already we have done 30 [jabs]. [At beginning] we had 100 of the 18-65 [shots], and just placed [an order] for 20.

“We wish we ordered more.”

Flu Shot. Photo: Ysabella Salisbury

According to the WA Department of Health’s Chief Medical Officer, this year there are two new strains of influenza, the A strain (H3N2) and the B Victoria lineage.

For those aged between 18 to 65 there are four different vaccine brands being supplied and for people over the age of 65, there is an enhanced vaccine.

Ms Yong says the shortage of vaccinations is because pharmacists only order based on the previous year.

Sally Yong interview

She says the vaccination should last a year.

If you are interested in getting a flu shot, you can join a wait list at your local pharmacy or GP.

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