Aussies set for powerful new vaccine following deadly flu season
It was one of the worst flu seasons in history but it looks like things could be a little better for us next year.
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A new and improved flu vaccine is expected to soon become available to the Australian public after hundreds of thousands of us become infected in 2017.
The flu season was so bad that it actually killed a string of people and infected more than 170,000 others.
It may not sound like a lot, but given that only 90,000 people got the flu in 2016, it was a dramatic increase.
Local GPs and hospitals struggled to keep up and many of us found it hard to shake our symptoms – even if we’d been vaccinated.
Let’s just say we’ve gone through more boxes of Kleenex tissues this year than we care to share.
This left health officials scrambling to decide how to better prepare us for the dreaded Winter months next year.
New reports now suggest that a turbo-charged vaccine is now in the works.
It’s said to contain four times the amount of antigen that is usually found in a typical vaccination that most of us get each year.
The new shot will target older Australians, given that we’ve been some of the worst hit in recent outbreaks of the flu.
In September, seven residents from the St John’s Retirement Village in Victoria died after 123 staff and patients became infected.
Read more: Flu kills seven Victorian aged care residents
Speaking to the Courier Mail, Health Minister Greg Hunt said Commonwealth health experts were working hard to get the vaccine rolled out as soon as possible.
He said: “Alongside Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy, I have been working behind the scenes for many months to secure a strong and more effective flu vaccine.
“I am optimistic that the early work we took will lead to the availability of the new drug for seniors next year.”
Read more: Aussies suffering through worst flu season on record
This year’s virus is believed to have been particularly bad due to many of us having a weaker immune response.
It’s also said that the virus was mutated, meaning that it was simply too strong for our regular jabs to fight off.
The Australian Medical Association also blamed our laidback attitude, suggesting that putting off going to the doctor has done more harm than good.
It is expected that a decision on if the drug will be available in Australia will be made shortly.