Demand for flu vaccinations and face masks have seen a marked increase as concerns of a second wave of coronavirus sees consumers looking to stay as safe as possible, according to a new report.
A study of Amcal and Guardian pharmacies across the nation has indicated a significant jump in people undertaking flu vaccinations in 2020, with an 179 per cent increase in flu vaccinations administered during March and April compared to the same time in 2019 - the beginning of the annual flu season.
Pharmacist at Pat Zirilli Amcal Chemist Laura Favero said the pharmacy saw an increased demand in flu vaccinations this year, with many people looking to receive a vaccination for the first time - with many people seeking vaccinations due to either a lowering of the age requirement or a requirement to receive a vaccination to enter aged care facilities.
"We've had to order an increased quantity and especially with Covid we had a lot of people - probably more so than ever - ringing up asking if we've got flu shots and getting it done," Ms Favero said.
"There's been a lot of people that can't go into nursing homes to see their family unless they have proof they have had one as well ... around March, April - that's when we were really busy with them and we've been busy since."
Ms Favero said the pharmacy had to order double their regularly yearly stock of vaccinations to allow for the increased demand, which has also been seen in items such as hand sanitiser and masks.
"We got our first drop in March and we've slowly had people from March onward," Ms Favero said.
"As soon as Covid started hitting, we sold out of face masks, hand sanitisers and we've only just started getting supply back ... we have been finding that this week especially we've had a lot of calls and people come in asking do you have any face masks in stock.
"We've signed up a lot of people on our SMS app for scripts and through that app you can also order over the counter items as well and that's just to stop people waiting in store and hanging around for longer than they need to - that's been pretty effective."
According to the report, 42 per cent of respondents who had a flu shot earlier in the year did so for reasons relating to coronavirus.
Amcal and Guardian head Kurt O'Brien said people who are yet to get a vaccination should do so as soon as they are able to as the nation may not have seen the peak of the flu season yet.
"It's important to know that as the majority of Australians have been social distancing over the last few months, we may be yet to see the peak of the flu season," Mr O'Brien said.
"With COVID-19 restrictions now starting to ease in most states, we are seeing people getting out and about more which may increase the risk of the seasonal flu spreading.
"The need for in demand products such as thermometers, hand sanitser and face masks continues to grow, and we've ordered more than a million face masks to meet consumer demands."