- The Immunisation Coalition (IC) congratulates the States for introducing and now extending their free influenza vaccination programs.
- The IC calls for the programs to be extended until the end of the month and for all vaccine providers to be included in the free state influenza vaccination programs.
- This will be a long winter – so it is not too late to vaccinate!
With influenza cases climbing, and hospital admissions increasing, the Immunisation Coalition (IC) believes there is much more still to be done to address the current flu epidemic affecting Australia this year. 1
Kim Sampson, CEO of the Immunisation Coalition says “It’s great news that SA and WA have announced the extension of their free influenza vaccination programs to the end of July. We just need the other states to follow suit. It would also be helpful if the territories made their
flu vaccines free for all of their constituents. Ideally, we should have the whole country working in unison to combat influenza in 2022”.
He went on to say, ““Local Councils and Public Health Units have the capacity to be providing influenza vaccination services but are not funded under the current arrangements. With such a narrow window to get people vaccinated, the IC believes this is a lost opportunity and calls on the States and Territories to include these vaccine providers in their reimbursement scheme”.
This year the TGA has released almost 18m flu doses for use in Australia – enough to vaccinate almost 3/4s of the eligible population (all those 6 months or older). However only approximately 10m doses have been used so far according to the AIR (Australian Immunisation Register).2
“In most parts of Australia, we are experiencing a severe influenza season, which has arrived early, but is likely to last for many months to come. However, it’s not too late to get vaccinated and we have plenty of vaccines available, so my suggestion is to get vaccinated now, while its free, to prevent being infected with influenza this year” said Prof Ian Barr of the WHO Collaborating Centre in Melbourne.
Dr Rod Pearce AM, Chairman of the Immunisation Coalition says “There are now high rates of influenza circulating with COVID-19, and we are beginning to see co-infections in children. The uptake of influenza vaccination for children under the age of 5 needs to increase significantly if we want to protect this vulnerable population.”
Kim Sampson, CEO of the Immunisation Coalition went on to say: “the extension of the free influenza vaccination program to the end of July across all states and territories is a great opportunity for all Australians of all ages to have access to influenza vaccines via
different community services – and there are still plenty of appointments available with your local GP’s and Pharmacists”.