By Natalee Kerr
Geelong’s flu season has continued soaring into October, with a 700 per cent increase in reported cases so far this year compared to the same time in 2018.
New Vic Health data recorded 2104 cases of influenza across the greater Geelong area between 1 January and 8 October in contrast to 263 during the same period last year.
The figure also surpassed the region’s end-of-year total for 2017 when Australia produced its highest levels of flu since the 2009 pandemic, according to the State Government.
Data released last week showed that Geelong’s rate of the flu for every 100,000 people had reached 1054 for the year to date. The state rate was 1252 per 100,000.
The figurers emerged as State Government announced that children aged 10 to 16 were now able to obtain flu shots from pharmacies without having to first visit a GP.
Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos urged young Victorians to take advantage of the new offer.
“We know Victorian families are busy, and they don’t always have time to get to the GP for their vaccinations,” she said.
“The vast majority of Victorians live just around the corner from a pharmacy, so this will make getting vaccinated against the flu just that little bit easier.”
The government said pharmacists provided 43,541 vaccinations across the state in 2017 to 2018, rising to more than 82,500 in 2018 to 2019.