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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Immunisation Coalition sounds alarm on influenza season

Health Industry Hub | March 19, 2024 |

Pharma News: Australia could be on the cusp of yet another early and severe influenza season in 2024, raising concerns among health officials about the vulnerability of the population. The Immunisation Coalition, a leading authority in public health, warns that Australians may be left unprotected, jeopardising not only their own health but also that of their communities.

Dr Leanne Jones, a board member of the Immunisation Coalition, stressed the importance of proactive vaccination.

“It is time for Australians to arrange their annual influenza vaccination,” she urged. “ATAGI recommends all Australians over 6 months to have annual vaccination.”

She highlighted the vulnerability of infants under 5 years, emphasising that this group is often under-vaccinated yet more prone to hospitalisation due to influenza.

“Influenza vaccination is also free for pregnant women, covering both mother and foetus, offering comprehensive protection,” she added.

Recent data as of March 18, 2024, suggests a potential recurrence of an early influenza season, marking the second consecutive year. Dr Andrew Minton, CEO of the Immunisation Coalition, expressed concern over the escalating numbers.

“The influenza season is in its early stages, but the uptick in infections compared to the previous year is worrisome,” he remarked. Dr Minton emphasised the importance of vaccination, particularly for vulnerable populations such as children and the elderly.

Elizabeth Miller, Deputy CEO of the Immunisation Coalition and a registered nurse, underscored the strain the influenza season imposes on the healthcare system.

“Vaccination against influenza significantly reduces the likelihood of hospitalisation across the country,” she affirmed. Ms Miller also highlighted the availability and effectiveness of antiviral medications if symptoms manifest, advising individuals to consult with healthcare professionals promptly.

The Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care echoed the importance of vaccination in preventing influenza and its complications. Advice from ATAGI emphasised the necessity of annual vaccination as the primary defence against influenza.

In response to the looming threat, the Immunisation Coalition urges all Australians to prioritise their influenza vaccination.

“Now is the best time to get vaccinated in preparation for the upcoming influenza season,” stressed the Coalition, echoing the sentiments shared by health officials nationwide.

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