Flu warning sent to wrong federal agency: The Australian

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The Vic Dept of Health has denied allegations that its warning about a fatal flu outbreak at a Victorian retirement village was not reported to the Federal Dept of Health for almost three weeks because the State Dept sent the alert to the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency where it sat unnoticed until a second report was made.

St John’s Retirement Village’s chairman Bishop John Parkes told the Herald Sun earlier this month that the facility had “done everything we could have done and should have done”.

The news comes as Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy admitted that this year’s flu vaccine, selected by the World Health Organisation, has not been as effective as previous years with a significantly higher number of flu cases than normal in people who have been vaccinated.

Over 155,000 laboratory-confirmed cases have been recorded nationally this year, a 70% increase on last year – with the highest numbers reported in people aged 80 and over and young children.

The Australian is now reporting that Prof. Murphy is in “high-level” discussions with flu manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur about a higher-dose flu vaccine for the elderly.

A similar vaccine has been in use in the US since 2009.