Central Victorian pharmacists are already experiencing shortages of influenza vaccines amid earlier demand for the shots.
This week, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners urged people to get their flu jabs earlier than usual to limit the strain on the health system during the COVID-19 pandemic and Victoria's Health Minister Jenny Mikakos encouraged every resident to have the shot.
Jeremy Byrne, pharmacist at Castlemaine's McKenzie Davey Pharmacy, said the business had ordered its flu vaccines for those not eligible for government-funded shots before coronavirus became such a concern, basing its budget on last year's demand.
But last month, Mr Byrne said, the pharmacy had used practically all those vaccines up, and had since back-ordered from wholesalers.
He said the pharmacy was receiving customers looking for flu shots from outside Castlemaine, including Bendigo and Daylesford.
"We're just taking names and calling as stock becomes available," Mr Byrne said.
He said people were concerned about getting the flu as well as COVID-19.
Similarly, Vanstan's Pharmacy pharmacist Stacey Mannix said that while the free government vaccine stock was readily available, the pharmacy had already exhausted the small supply it had for those who were not eligible.
Mrs Mannix said the Flora Hill pharmacy had seen a much earlier demand for flu shots this year than last.
Last year's earlier flu season, she said, could also be driving the demand, as well as COVID-19.
Pharmacist Carlotta Standen from Healthworks Pharmacy in Kangaroo Flat said the supply of flu vaccines - along with the supply of other medications and goods, such as hand sanitiser, gloves and masks - was a concern.
A spokesperson from the Commonwealth Department of Health said the department would monitor supplies of vaccines on the private market.
The spokesperson said the country was well-placed to respond to any increases in demand for those eligible for free, government-funded vaccines, with "record numbers of supplies for the NIP, and state and territory government programs" secured.
There were 13.5 million doses for those eligible for the free vaccines, they said, including over four million doses of the specialised vaccine for those aged 65 and over.
"The Department of Health is committed to working closely with its state and territory colleagues, as well as vaccine suppliers, to actively manage supplies of influenza vaccines and ensure they are where they are needed," the spokesperson said.
Related: 2019 flu cases rise in Bendigo
People most at risk - such as those aged over 65, pregnant women, young children, those with other medical conditions that place them at higher risk of serious illness and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people - are eligible for the government-funded vaccines.
This week, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission also gave medicine wholesalers interim authorisation to co-operate, to ensure the ongoing distribution and supply of medicines and pharmacy products during the pandemic.
In Victoria, pharmacists can now administer flu shots to children aged 10 and over, and measles-mumps-rubella, meningococcal ACWY and whooping cough-containing vaccines to people 15 years of age and older
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