In a horrible start to the flu season, Border emergency departments have seen an influx of influenza patients, while many pharmacies have run out of vaccines after 'unprecedented demand'.
Albury Wodonga Health operation director of acute services,Tracy Nesbitt, said ten people had tested positive for influenza since the start of May this year, compared to zero in the same time last year.
"It's quite different to last year and it's similar across [Victoria]," she said.
"The health department said respiratory presentations across the state are up by eight per cent compared to last year.
"People are being very, very vigilant and having vaccinations, four times as many people nationally have been vaccinated than this time last year, people are quite afraid."
Nationally, 77,656 cases of influenza have been confirmed by laboratories since January 1, well above the five-year average of 11,227 for the same time period.
Ms Nesbitt said there had been an increase of presentations to both Albury and Wodonga emergency departments.
She said last year the flu season hit late and it was hard to tell whether this was an early season, or if the severity would continue for months.
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Ms Nesbitt said increased presentations adds pressure to emergency departments, so it was important people went to GPs for testing, unless they were very ill or in a high risk group.
Pharmacies on both sides of the border are struggling to keep up with the high demand for flu vaccines.
Last week, federal Health Minister Greg Hunt announced an additional 400,000 flu vaccines would be delivered to Australia to keep up with 'unprecedented demand', on top of the 12.1 million already released to the market.
There is no shortage for people eligible in the National Immunisation Program.
Albury's Blooms pharmacy retail manager Kaily Cunningham said most Border pharmacies were out of stock.
"We went through about 140 vaccinations in six days, it's been very busy," she said.
Elmwood Pharmacy's David Truong said they ran out a couple of days ago, while a spokesman for Good Price Pharmacy Warehouse Wodonga said they still have limited stock to cover existing appointments, but are not accepting new bookings.
Last week, national-chain Chemist Warehouse said they were almost out of flu vaccines nationwide.
TerryWhite Chemmart pharmacist Krystel Tresillian said they were expecting record demand for vaccines with authorities predicting a 'horror peak flu season'.
"This appears to be driven by a worse than usual flu season, with an increase in reported flu diagnostics in March from 3,000 cases in 2018 to 10,000 cases in 2019," she said.
Many pharmacies are expecting a restock shortly.
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