Swine flu vaccine delay concern

Frustrated: Dr Joan Chamberlain is concerned the private stock of seasonal influenza vaccine has been delayed.
Frustrated: Dr Joan Chamberlain is concerned the private stock of seasonal influenza vaccine has been delayed. Chris Ison

ROCKHAMPTON general practitioner Dr Joan Chamberlain is frustrated this year’s private stock of the seasonal influenza vaccination has been delayed.

Dr Chamberlain said the reason for this delay was the world-wide production of swine flu vaccinations in the same labs as the seasonal flu.

A Queensland Health spokesperson said the first priority for seasonal influenza vaccination was to provide it under the Immunise Australia Program to those who are vulnerable and most strongly recommended to receive it at this stage.

This group of most at risk includes those over 65, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over 15 years of age, pregnant women and those aged six months and over with medical conditions predisposing to severe influenza.

Supplies of seasonal influenza vaccine are available for GPs to use with these high risk patients.

Queensland Health advice is to get the free human swine flu vaccination now and then get the seasonal flu vaccine as soon it is available from a GP or another vaccination provider.

Ms Chamberlain, a GP at Northside Plaza Medical Centre, said her advice to worried travellers unable to get the seasonal flu vaccination in Rockhampton at the moment was to be immunised against swine flu and have the seasonal flu vaccination when they return.

“We’re hoping the vaccinations are not too far away,” Ms Chamberlain said.

Sue Murphy, practice manager at Berserker Medical Centre, said chemists were having a tough time getting a hold of the seasonal flu vaccination, which also covers protection against swine flu.

A local pharmacist, who wished not to be named, said they were expecting ample supplies of the seasonal flu vaccine in the next couple of weeks.

He said they recently received two thirds of their swine flu supply.

People can be immunised now against human swine flu, and still receive the seasonal flu vaccination when it becomes widely available.

The H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine is still available free for everyone at GPs and other vaccination providers.

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