More flu vaccines to meet record demand

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Recently reappointed health minister Greg Hunt says Australia is on track for a record number of flu vaccinations in 2019 with an additional 400,000 vaccines to be imported over the coming weeks to meet unprecedented demand.

Over 12.1 million flu vaccines have already been released to the market including 7.5 million for the National Immunisation Program (NIP), state and territory vaccination programs, and 4.6 million doses for the private market.

Supplies for the NIP and state and territory government programs are currently secure however there has been unprecedented demand in the private market, said Mr Hunt.

"I have been working with vaccines companies to ensure that there is sufficient supply in the private market," he added.

Mr Hunt confirmed Sanofi will bring another 400,000 FluQuadri vaccines to Australia. These will be made available through general practice and community pharmacy. 

This will take the overall number of flu vaccines available in Australia this year to over 12.5 million - up from 11 million in 2018.

Those eligible for a free flu vaccine through the NIP include people aged 65 years and over, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and older and people aged sixth months or older with certain medical conditions which put them at risk of severe influenza.

Pregnant women are also eligible for a free flu vaccine.