PEOPLE keen to fend off the flu with an early jab are advised to keep waiting until late April for best effect leading into winter.
This comes on the back of a record summer influenza season nationwide with 71 cases reported in the Grampians region alone, almost three times the rate to the same time last year.
Pharmacies, including UFS, are encouraging people to book once vaccination programs are made available late next month in line with health department recommendations.
Immunisation Coalition chief executive officer Kim Sampson said it was difficult to predict the severity of a flu season and it was best to be prepared with an annual vaccination shot.
"A mild season, like 2018, is often followed by a more severe season. So for this year we have seen record numbers of summer influenza cases, although this does not necessarily translate into a severe winter influenza cases," Ms Sampson said.
There was a 40 per cent rise nationwide for flu jabs last year following a severe winter season in 2017.
Ms Sampson said demand rates were not uniform across the country and while there was not a vaccine shortage last year, the vaccine was not always where it was needed most.
While strong demand for flu vaccinations are expected this coming season, Ms Sampson said adjustments were made to make sure it would reach where needed.
A spokesman for the Victorian Health and Human Services Department confirmed the Commonwealth had assured there would be adequate vaccine for the winter flu season. But it was also recommended all who were eligible for the free vaccine program use it.
Two high-dose vaccines are available this season with Fluad free to Australians aged 65-plus on the National Immunisation Program. Fluzone is available for a cost on the private market.
Meanwhile, City of Ballarat will no longer provide flu immunisations at council health sites. This follows a review of the city's immunisation program last year.
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