AUSTRALIA’S chief medical officer Professor Brendan Murphy has blasted claims that Australians received a “cheap flu vaccine,” after reports yesterday quoted Immunisation Coalition chair Paul van Buynder saying he blamed the “$6 budget version of the flu vaccine used in the national vaccination program” for record levels of influenza during winter.
Murphy said the claim was “utterly false…the flu vaccines chosen this year were the best available in the Australian market, selected by medical experts in Australia and around the world”.
Vaccine maker Sanofi also rejected the Immunisation Coalition suggestion, saying the 2017 flu vaccine supplied in Australia is the “current standard of care globally for the prevention of influenza”.
The 2017 season was particularly bad due to the circulation of multiple strains and the virulence of the H3N2 strain, Sanofi said.
The company said the bad season highlighted the need for innovative medicines to enhance protection, adding it was in the process of registration of an enhanced influenza vaccine as a step forward to address this issue.
“We are working with the Department of Health to bring flu high dose to the population as soon as possible,” the company said.