Case numbers have already begun to rise along the east coast, with 15,000 people in Australia already diagnosed this year.
“What we’re finding is that instead of flu case numbers taking off around June, we’re already seeing case numbers start to rise,” Dr. Brad McKay said in Weekend Today.
“15,000 people in Australia have already been diagnosed with influenza.
“What we know is that if the numbers go up early, we often have a very high spike.
“That’s often when these catastrophic flu seasons are coming up.”
Vaccine uptake wasn’t high or fast enough last year, doctors say, and the peak of flu season came in early May instead of August, when it historically does.
COVID-19 restrictions in 2020 and 2021 saw flu cases drop to “unbelievably low levels”, with concerns that it could build a sense of confidence in the community, but “there is still great risk”.
“A lot of people are tired of getting the COVID vaccine, we’re trying to roll it out right now,” McKay said.
“Flu vaccines are already in pharmacies.
“They’ve had general practices this week as well, they’re there, low numbers right now.
“We want people to remember to get vaccinated.”
Last year there were some 225,000 cases nationally with 308 Australians dying with the virus.