Flu vaccine to arrive next week after shortage

IN just 10 days, one Gladstone medical practice delivered 100 flu shots - and it's not even the beginning of flu season.

The government-funded flu vaccine will be made available next week but it's a month behind schedule and people have noticed.

Gladstone Central Medical Centre practice manager Sally Wheatley said patients had been calling every day, asking them for the vaccine.

Their private stocks arrived on Friday, April 3, and in that time they have given the shot to more than 100 people. Some of those people have also been willing to pay - instead of waiting any longer for the government-funded shot.

"It's a month late, so people want to get their immune response built up before flu season starts," Ms Wheatley said.

"The earlier you can get it before the flu season the better."

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She said her practice alone would deliver at least 500 more shots before the start of the flu season next month.

The vaccine is late because of manufacturing delays.

The government has incorporated two new strains and the new double-strain takes longer to develop, test and distribute the reagents needed to make the vaccine. In March 4381 flu cases had already been reported compared to 3838 at the same time last year.

With just six weeks until winter, Australia's leading influenza expert body is urging Queenslanders to book a flu shot now.