Flu season in the southern Hemisphere runs from around April to September, usually peaking in June or July.
Despite the recent negative publicity surrounding a suspicious number of adverse effects among young children receiving CSL’s Fluvax, the demand for flu vaccine this year has been described as `unprecedented’.
In fact, demand has outstripped supply, at least temporarily. This report from the Herald Sun.
Last Updated: May 07, 2010
THOUSANDS of Victorians wanting protection from influenza are being turned away by doctors because of a nationwide shortage of the seasonal flu vaccine.
As stocks run out, Victorian pharmacies have started waiting lists for people desperate to have the seasonal flu vaccine, which protects against swine flu as well as the two seasonal flu types A and B.
The main manufacturer of the vaccine, Australia's CSL, completed a fresh batch that was being rushed to wholesalers on Friday in the hope it would filter into the market over the next week.
A spokeswoman for the company warned there could be more shortages by the end of the month as overseas supplies were further delayed until June, leaving no time for CSL to produce additional stocks to fill the shortfall.
The New Zealand Ministry of Health reports in their latest influenza update that the first shipments of European manufactured vaccine are now arriving, and advise that the recent shortages there may soon be coming to an end.
6 May 2010
Pandemic Influenza H1N1 2009 (swine flu) – Update 184
Surveillance data from GP practices and Healthline for the week ending 30 April shows a continued increase in both the number of people calling healthline for free health advice on influenza-like illness, and visiting the doctor with an influenza-like illness. While numbers are still below baseline, this continued increase could signal the start of a higher level of pandemic influenza activity in New Zealand.
Air freight is now returning to normal, following the widespread closure of European airports in mid-April caused by the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland. Those airport closures created a backlog for air freight, which delayed the delivery of seasonal flu vaccine from France to New Zealand over the past few weeks.
Large shipments of vaccine are now possible, with the first (of 108,000 doses) arriving in New Zealand today (Thursday May 6).
This enables our seasonal flu vaccine stockpile to return to a state where it is well stocked - and in the next week will enable us to resume advertising to encourage people to access the protection provided by seasonal vaccination.
Having a healthy stockpile will also enable GPs and other key providers in the community to resume scheduling "vaccination clinics" - a practice we advised against in recent weeks when vaccines were in short supply.