A TURBO-charged flu vaccine can be rolled out inside months underneath plans to stop one other horror flu season comparable to this yr’s, which has claimed lives throughout the nation.
As exams are expedited and a particular badembly of Commonwealth well being consultants has been introduced ahead to January, it may be revealed the Chief Health Officer is badessing whether or not a brand new flu “sniff” vaccine must be included on the National Immunisation Program for youths underneath 5 years. It would imply younger youngsters would escape the trauma of getting a needle.
It comes because the Australian Medical Association has partly blamed the Australian psyche, and its “she’ll be right” perspective, for the surprising outbreak.
In an unique interview with The Courier-Mail, Health Minister Greg Hunt mentioned in-principle agreements had been reached with two firms to supply stronger flu pictures that may goal older Australians, who’ve borne the brunt of this season’s influenza outbreak.
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Negotiations have been ongoing for months with pharma giants Seqirus and Sanofi Pasteur, which have purposes earlier than regulator the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
Seqirus will produce FLUAD, which incorporates an immune enhancing (adjuvant) ingredient.
Sanofi Pasteur will produce Fluzone High Dose, which incorporates 4 occasions the antigen of a typical seasonal influenza vaccine.
If strict protocols are met, the medicine can be prepared from April, when most Australians obtain their flu shot.
Mr Hunt mentioned the Commonwealth was doing “everything in our power to protect and save lives next year when the flu season hits”.
“Alongside Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy, I’ve been working behind the scenes for a lot of months to safe a stronger and more practical flu vaccine.
“The vaccinations should stack up and undergo the conventional unbiased course of however we are going to have a look at doing this within the shortest potential timeframe.
“I’m optimistic that the early work we took will result in the provision of the brand new drug for seniors subsequent yr.”
Meantime, Professor Murphy mentioned he would await medical proof from the US and UK earlier than deciding if Australia would supply a brand new nasal spray vaccination for kids underneath 5.
He mentioned Australia “would seriously look at bringing it here” if badysis proved its efficacy.
The Queensland Government introduced final month it might present conventional flu vaccines for kids underneath 5 years.
There have been greater than 175,000 influenza instances reported in Australia this yr, up considerably from 91,000 instances final yr. A mutated virus and a weaker immune response from older Australians have contributed to the lethal season, which has additionally claimed the lives of wholesome, younger individuals.
It comes as Australian Medical Association vice-president Tony Bartone has written an opinion piece saying a number of the drivers behind this yr’s numbers have been “the ‘she’ll be right’ attitude, and a culture in this country that doesn’t really respect having time off work because of the flu”.
“The Australian character does not give this dangerous virus its due respect,” he says.