Flu vaccine dilemma for seniors

A dangerous strain of influenza, set to hit Queensland’s south-east this flu season, has been left out of a potentially lifesaving vaccine for the state’s seniors.

The Brisbane virus, deemed severe by the World Health Organisation, isn’t included in this year’s jab for residents aged over 65.

Raceview’s Doctor Wade Wilson received his batch of Federal Government funded vaccines yesterday and quickly realised the difference.

The vaccine for under 65s, protects against four Influenza strains. Two As and two Bs.

But for seniors, there’s only protection from three. Two As and the one B.

“If I’m going to use this over-65 vaccine I won’t be protecting my patients from the Brisbane Virus,” he said.

“Unfortunately they’ve left the wrong virus out of it.”

The Brisbane virus has been detected in Europe and America over the past few months, and authorities predict it will return to Australia, after starting here in 2008.

The country’s chief medical officer admitted they left it out, deliberately.

This year, the Federal Government was advised to try a new vaccine for the elderly, replacing the second B strain with high doses of immunity fighters.

“It’s much better for the elderly to have a vaccine that gives them a better immune response generally – rather than one that might have one more virus but they won’t respond to very well at all like we saw last year,” Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy said.

A full 90 percent of the 1100 flu related deaths last year were in the over-65 bracket.

To avoid that same high number again this year, authorities say the seniors vaccine is tougher and stronger than any other on the international market.

Professor Murphy says some seniors could already be safeguarded from the Brisbane strain.

“[Those] who have often had exposure to B in the past there is probably some cross protection between the B strains so having the one B strain will probably provide some protection,” he said.

© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2018