Australia’s summer saw it have the worse flu season it has had in years. It is suspected that there have been over 98,000 cases of the flu. That’s nearly double of what it was last year. Many experts are saying the UK is in for something much worse. There have been a few confirmed deaths in Australia, the most recent being a mom of two. With so many people coming to and from the country, experts predict it is only a matter of weeks before it hits the UK. But what needs to be done? Or worse, can anything be done to stop this turning into an epidemic?
A vaccine is a huge worry. There are fears that medical researches over in Australia aren’t going to be able to find a vaccine in time. The worry is, it wasn’t just one strain of the flu virus, there were multiple circulating. This is turn makes it very hard to find what the dominant strain was. Even if this is found, there’s a chance the vaccine produced won’t be strong enough to fight it. In the year of 2015, the flu jab offered out to people of the UK failed to be effective in nearly half of all cases. This one due to a vaccine only being created to match a weaker strain of the virus. The dominant strain had no vaccine. Worrying statistics if this virus is meant to be the worse so far. One final fear is something called a virological drift. This is where the strain of the virus mutates as it travels across the globe. So even if the vaccine is compatible in Australia, it might be a different story by the time it reaches the UK. To get the funding for this, regulatory affairs are going to have to be researched, to see where is best to get the money to generate and finally market the new vaccine.
The NHS needs money. The strain is already immense, with people having to wait months for a bed to free up for an operation. It is now estimated that around 3,000 new beds need to be free’d up ready for what’s to come. But with barely any money left in the NHS as it is, sorting this in time is going to be nearly impossible. Along with the beds comes the extra staff needed. NHS bosses are attempting to bring in more overseas doctors and nurses to help with the shortage that is going to arrive. All this coupled with the extra equipment needed, the NHS needs around 2.4 million pounds injected quickly into its funds, or it’s likely this flu epidemic is going to take over the UK.
Another big worry is the young and the elderly. Australia reported it hit children aged between 5-9, and the elderly over the age of 80. Meaning care homes are going to have one of the worse winters they’ve had. The NHS directors are reviewing how Australia coped, and taking tips to make sure we come out the other side of this harsh winter with as few deaths as possible.