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ACT ready for peak flu season with record vaccination rates

By Ian Bushnell 26 July 2018 0
More people than ever before have had flu shots this year in the ACT.

More people than ever before have had flu shots this year in the ACT.

A record number of influenza vaccinations this year holds the ACT in good stead as it comes into the peak of the flu season, according to ACT Health.

It said that about 60 per cent more influenza vaccines had been delivered into the ACT community this year, compared to the same period last year.

ACT Health Public Health Physician Dr Vanessa Johnston said the close to 90,000 influenza vaccines distributed to immunisation providers to date was a record and meant more people than ever before have been vaccinated against the flu in the Territory.

“This increase in the number of people immunised for the flu this year is a real positive,” Dr Johnston said.

“Vaccination is the best protection we have against Influenza and as we head into August and September, which is normally the peak of the flu season, our community is well prepared.”

Vaccination rates had increased in children aged from six months to five years, in particular, as a result of the Government’s program of free flu vaccines this year.

There has been a 35 per cent vaccination coverage rate for this cohort to date in 2018, compared to 5 per cent in 2017.

ACT Health said the latest figures showed the number of laboratory-confirmed influenza notifications remained at low levels in the ACT.

“Since the beginning of the year, there have been 180 notifications of influenza reported to ACT Health. In comparison, there were 316 notifications of influenza reported to ACT Health during the same time period in 2017,” Dr Johnston said.

“These low influenza notification rates are a good start, however, as we get closer to the peak of the flu season we are reminding Canberrans that it’s not too late to get your flu shot.

“The flu vaccination is your best protection against the flu and is still available from your usual immunisation providers.”

The latest report says that 63 per cent of notifications (114) were influenza A and 37 per cent (66) were influenza B.

There have been no notifications of cases co-infected with influenza A and B. Of the 43 influenza A notifications with subtype information available, 26 (60 per cent) were H1N1 and 17 (40 per cent) were H3 (presumed H3N2).

Overall, notifications have been highest among adults aged 30-39 years (16 per cent, 29), followed by children aged 0-4 years (13 per cent, 24) and adults aged 60-69 years (12 per cent, 22).

For more information on winter wellbeing and flu, visit the ACT Health website at: http://www.health.act.gov.au/healthy-living/winter-wellbeing-and-flu

To view the latest ACT Influenza Report, visit: http://www.health.act.gov.au/healthy-living/winter-wellbeing-and-flu/flu-act

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