MedAdvisor has recorded a 20% year-on-year drop in flu shots administered compared to April 2020.
More than 65% of Australian pharmacies use the MedAdvisor pharmacy platform, PlusOne, to record and submit immunisation encounters to the Australian Immunisation Register, as well as manage patient bookings.
With peak flu season just one month away, health experts are encouraging more people to get their flu vaccine with numbers lagging significantly compared to last year.
According to Flutracking, just 45 per cent of Australians aged 18-64 have had their flu vaccine – compared with 71.8 per cent at the same time last year. Meanwhile, 66 per cent of Australians 65 and older have had their flu vaccine compared with almost 90 per cent at the same time last year.
Flu shot demand typically peaks in May. Last year, as a direct result of COVID-19, MedAdvisor saw that peak come forward with more people opting for the jab in April.
This year, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology has again announced that this winter will likely be warmer across much of the country, with a possibility of some bushfires in some rural areas. Coupled with the warmer chilly season however, is the possibility of higher rainfall in certain areas.
However, this warning has been the same one issued for the last two decades. And, contrary to the warning, Melbourne witnessed its coldest morning in over 70 years last month with the temperature dropping to 1.7 celsius. This marks the coldest morning for the Australian city in three years and coldest outside of the winter season since 1970. This chilly trend is also not exclusive to Melbourne, with other parts of NSW witnessing extensive frost inland.
With this drop in temperature, comes the need to ensure that the nation is vaccinated with the jab still acting as the best defence against flu viruses.
According to government-funded platform Health Direct, while people can catch the flu any time, individuals are more susceptible in colder months.
MedAdvisor CEO Robert Read said that
“We're heading into this year's peak flu season less protected. We can’t afford to be complacent when it comes to flu -and while it can be tricky balancing the timing between COVID-19 and flu vaccinations, it remains vital for our community that, where appropriate, we get out shots.”
During the administering of COVID-19 vaccinations across Australia, experts recommend a two week interim between both the flu and COVID-19 vaccine and, according to the nation’s department of health, the ordering does not matter.
Flu vaccinations can be administered to anyone over the age of six months and can be arranged at local pharmacies around the nation, with MedAdvisor’s Flu Jab appointment service available to help.
It is recommended that if you have had your COVID-19 vaccine, to inform your vaccination provider to ensure appropriate time has passed. Aside from getting the flu jab, it is recommended that Aussies continue practising good hygiene, especially throughout the colder months and amid the global pandemic.