Flu jabs could possibly be sophisticated this yr – sector

Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC) Director, Nikki Turner receiving her COVID-19 vaccination

2021-04-02 22:54:25

First printed on Otago Daily Times

By Wyatt Ryder

Getting the flu vaccine this yr could possibly be sophisticated by the Covid-19 vaccine, says an immunisation specialist.

Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC) Director, Nikki Turner receiving her COVID-19 vaccination

Immunisation Advisory Centre director Nikki Turner receiving her Covid-19 vaccination.
Photograph: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

The Ministry of Well being has confirmed greater than 2.4 million doses of influenza vaccine have been secured, virtually 300,000 doses greater than final yr’s report provide.

The arrival of the vaccine, nonetheless, has been delayed attributable to a producing drawback.

The flu vaccine for these 65 years or older might be obtainable from 14 April, however the vaccine for folks beneath 65 won’t be obtainable till Could, the Ministry of Well being stated in an announcement.

Immunisation Advisory Centre director Nikki Turner stated it will be troublesome to supply flu vaccines in Could, as folks would even be beginning to get Covid-19 vaccines then.

She believed uptake of the flu vaccine can be decrease this yr as a result of some folks, akin to frontline well being employees, can be getting the Covid-19 one first.

Two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine are required, and so they should be taken at the least three weeks aside.

The Covid-19 vaccine can be obtainable in some areas about the identical time because the flu vaccine.

The flu vaccine needs to be taken earlier than the flu season begins in winter.

It could possibly be troublesome to get vaccinated towards each the flu and Covid-19 earlier than winter due to the timing.

Two-week hole advisable

Dr Turner stated it was advisable to have a two-week hole between getting the flu vaccine and the Covid-19 vaccine, because the Covid-19 one had not but undergone scientific trials testing the protection and effectiveness of taking it alongside different vaccines.

Nonetheless, she stated folks might have each vaccines in a shorter span of time if needed. “It is a common guideline, not an absolute rule.”

It was nonetheless necessary for these at excessive danger to get vaccinated towards the flu.

‘Stress on system’

Dr Bryan Betty of Porirua Union and Community Health.

Dr Bryan Betty
Photograph: RNZ / Karen Brown

Royal New Zealand Faculty of Common Practitioners medical director Bryan Betty stated the flexibility to manage vaccines was a priority that had been raised.

He stated between the 2 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine and the anticipated flu vaccine uptake there have been about 12 million vaccinations to manage over the following six months.

“This places appreciable strain and stress throughout the system.”

The extent of the difficulty would depend upon the timing of the vaccines, and the way a lot crossover there was between them.

WellSouth medical director Stephen Graham stated the timing of the vaccines was already inflicting issues for relaxation properties.

He stated there have been giant numbers of individuals in aged residential care who had been thought of to be at excessive danger of Covid-19 and can be doubtlessly receiving Covid-19 photographs quickly.

He was unsure if the flu vaccine obtainable in April for folks over 65 can be delayed for these needing Covid-19 vaccines due to the two-week hole required.

Dr Turner stated she didn’t anticipate there can be numerous flu this yr, as border management and social distancing had been nonetheless in impact, nevertheless it was more likely to be worse than final yr as New Zealand was not in a full lockdown.

Regardless, she stated it was not possible to say how dangerous will probably be. “We hope we cannot have a nasty flu season, however we will by no means predict.”

This story first appeared within the Otago Every day Instances

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