Why millions of Australians could be ‘sitting ducks’ ahead of horror flu season that could hit this SUMMER
- Health experts have forecast a ‘horror’ flu season will engulf Queensland
- Many people have opted to skip their flu shots, heavy focus on Covid jabs
- Others fear flu will be ‘let loose’ once international travel borders are re-open
Millions of Australians are ‘sitting ducks’ ahead of a flu season that could start as early as this summer, experts have warned.
The nation over the past two years has been so focused on staving off the deadly coronavirus pandemic, that only one third of the population have rolled up their sleeves for their seasonal influenza shot.
Herd immunity is also at a low level due to the virus not widely circulating during the Covid pandemic, with health experts suggesting a surge of cases could hit by January.
Fears are rising that millions of Australians are ‘sitting ducks’ ahead of a horror flu season as early as this summer (stock image)
Many people have opted to focus on Covid vaccinations, rather than flu shots – which has health experts on edge
Immunisation expert Professor Robert Booy said pandemic protocols and the closing of borders had minimised the spread of the flu – but that could soon change.
‘Even responsible people have been so caught up in Covid that they have not bothered to get their vaccine this year,’ Prof Booy told the Courier Mail.
He said some GP and pharmacies are hesitant to order vaccines in bulk numbers after some recorded wastage of up to 50 per cent in recent months.
Tellingly, the rate of influenza jabs has dropped from 18 million doses in 2020 to just 8.8 million jabs in 2021 to November 1.
Immunisation expert Professor Robert Booy said strict pandemic protocols and the closing of borders has minimised the spreading of the flu across Australia – but that could soon change
Last year there were just over 6000 flu cases nationally – a historically low figure.
In 2019, there were about 310,000 documented cases of the virus.
Dr Bruce Willet, Queensland chair of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, said people diligently practicing social distancing, as well as mass use of face masks and sanitisers have controlled Covid – but ominously warned the flu will be ‘let loose’ once international and state borders are re-open.
‘The flu variant changes often and vaccines are designed for specific variants,’ he said.
‘The body needs to be protected for what virus is about to hit. Vaccinations are the only way to do this.’