Doctors have blamed a cheap flu vaccine for Australia’s horror sickness season, as the deadly virus claimed hundreds of lives.
A $6 ‘budget’ vaccine was used in the national vaccination program, despite claims it does not adequately protect those most at risk.
An $8 vaccine that is four times stronger, 24 per cent more effective in preventing influenza and reduces the risk of hospitalisation from respiratory illness by 12.7 per cent, is not available in Australia.
Professor Paul Van Buynder, chair of the Immunisation Coalition, told the Daily Telegraph the government needs to invest in the stronger vaccine, regardless of the cost.
Doctors have blamed a cheap flu vaccine for Australia’s horror sickness season, which has claimed hundreds of lives (stock image)
‘Paying for a vaccine that doesn’t work is a false economy, if you can stop tens of thousands of people getting sick or hospitalisation the extra expense is worth undertaking,’ Professor van Buynder said.
The call for a stronger vaccine comes as Australia’s horror flu season saw 217,000 people contract the illness and claimed the lives of hundreds, including children.
Eight-year-old Rosie Brealey died just days after contracting a deadly flu virus in September, remembered as a ‘loving little angel’ by her family.
In the same month, Jennifer Thew, a mother-of-two from Canberra, died after fighting a week-long battle against a deadly flu virus alongside her seven-year-old daughter, Estella.
Eight-year-old Rosie Brealey died just days after contracting a deadly flu virus in September
Jennifer Thew, a mother-of-two from Canberra (centre), died after fighting a week-long battle against a deadly flu virus alongside her seven-year-old daughter, Estella (right)
Ms Thew died from acute respiratory distress syndrome, despite being vaccinated against the flu.
Professor Brendan Murphy, Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, denies the claim cheap vaccines are purchased for the National Immunisation Program (NIP).
Professor Murphy said the stronger vaccinations that are available internationally were ‘currently not able to be supplied in Australia’.
‘The choice of vaccines is based on recommendations from independent medical experts including the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation,’ he said.
A $6 ‘budget’ vaccine was used in the national vaccination program, despite claims it does not adequately protect those most at risk such as the elderly (stock image)
‘By law, the independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee must recommend a vaccine before it can be listed on the NIP.’
In Queensland, 5710 people were hospitalised with the flu while 678 were admitted to intensive care.
Since April, 937 people been hospitalised with flu in New South Wales, including 247 children.
More than 650 people in Victoria were admitted to hospital as a result of the flu, with 95 deaths.