Vaccines are running out in some parts of Melbourne’s west as the number of Victorians diagnosed with the flu tops 18,600 – nine times more than at the same time last year.
Altona North doctor Mukesh Haikerwal said it had been “a massive” year for flu.
“We’ve vaccinated around 3000 people in our practice alone,” he said. “It’s been very, very full-on for all of our staff.”
Dr Haikerwal said that following an advertising campaign by state and federal governments, his clinic had faced vaccine supply issues.
“We still have pockets of lack of supply, especially for private flu vaccines, which we have to beg, borrow or steal to get [for] people who are wanting to be immunised,” he said.
“We were running immunising clinics for 200 or 300 in a day, and then not having enough for the next clinic, so having to wait for more stock before booking more clinics.”
The former World Medical Association chairman and former Australian Medical Association president said supply had improved, but stocks were running low at what was the height of vaccinating season.
More than 30 people, including three children, have died in Victoria from the flu this year, Health Minister Jenny Mikakos confirmed this month.
A Western Health spokesman said there had been a noticeable increase in hospital admissions for people suffering flu-like symptoms since the start of June.
He said the rise was being experienced across all age categories, but particularly among children. The situation could further worsen in coming months, as flu cases typically peaked in September.