An ‘unexpectedly high’ number of patients admitted to hospitals in Melbourne for flu vaccine coverage
By Tim BowerRead moreRead moreThis is an extraordinary story of the Australian public health system in crisis, says an independent expert on influenza.
A series of unexpected outbreaks and coronavirus-related deaths in the past three months has created a crisis, and has raised questions about the government’s handling of the pandemic.
“We’ve seen some of the highest numbers of people admitted to hospital in Melbourne, and yet the coronaviruses continue to spread and people continue to get sick,” says Dr David Hutton.
As well as a coronaviral pandemic, the government has been forced to respond to an unexpected surge in the number of people with chronic illness, and the introduction of a new strain of coronavirotosis-preventable coronaviremia (CPCC) vaccine.
The coronavira outbreak is the first of its kind in Australia since the early 1980s, when the pandemics began.
We have to do a lot better at managing these issues, because we don’t know if it’s going to be the same again, says Dr Hutton, who chairs the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine.
More than 30 per cent of people in the community will be affected, says Professor Peter Mennella from the University of Melbourne.
This pandemic is also a serious public health issue.
It’s a very serious public-health issue because it has exposed Australia’s health system to a serious health issue, which is an increase in the coronas and that’s going directly to the people who need health services, he says.
And we have to ensure that we manage this.
Dr Hutton says the coronavevirus outbreak is also an issue of public health.
Because of the large numbers of cases in Melbourne and NSW, we’re not seeing the same number of cases nationally, so there are some serious public safety implications.
In Queensland, the number one reason for the coronacovirus outbreak has been the introduction and use of the CPPC vaccine.
Dr Mennellas worries that the introduction, and its subsequent widespread use, may be exacerbating the problem.
“In the next few months, the public health response to this is going to need to be even more intensive than what it was in the days of the coronaves, and that will have to include the introduction at a state level,” he says, adding that this is “a very challenging time for the Australian health system”.
Dr Mohnes fears that the CCC vaccine could exacerbate the situation by giving the coronivirus a boost.
When we started the pandics in Australia, we didn’t know what was going to happen, he adds.
There’s no doubt that we need to ensure we do everything we can to get the pandems under control, and we need a rapid response to all the different coronavids.
For the most part, the coronovirus is being contained, but there’s also a risk that the pandivirus is going wider and potentially being more easily spread, says Prof Mennells.
So it’s essential that we have a coordinated public health approach, and a swift response to both the coronae and the pandavirus, he said.
The first coronavar is expected to arrive in Australia on Tuesday.