Residents in Fairfax who are most at risk of getting sick during this year’s flu season can now access a free influenza vaccine, under the Federal Government’s National Immunisation Program.
Member for Fairfax, Ted O’Brien MP said 2017 had the highest influenza activity in Australia in almost a decade, mirroring a global trend, with more than 250,000 Australians testing positive for influenza and double the normal hospitalisations.
“I urge everyone in Fairfax to consider getting a flu shot this year. Annual influenza vaccination is recommended for any person six months of age and older, with vaccines also available on the private market,” Mr O’Brien said.
“It’s important to get the flu shot every year, as the virus changes year to year.”
Those who are eligible for a free flu shot under the National Immunisation Program include people aged 65 years and over, most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and those who suffer from chronic conditions.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said flu shots are available now at general practices and other vaccination providers. They’re also available for purchase at many pharmacies.
“Last year over 90 per cent of the 1,100 influenza-associated deaths were in people aged 65 years and older and this year we have taken specific action to address this,” Minister Hunt said.
“Two new ground-breaking flu vaccines are now available for Australians aged over 65. These are specifically targeted at this age group, offering stronger doses and now available for the first time in Australia.
“Getting vaccinated from mid-April will ensure you are protected before Australia’s peak flu period, from around June to September.”
The composition of the Australian vaccine is decided by the Australian Influenza Vaccine Committee in consultation with the World Health Organisation.
Influenza vaccines are age-specific, so ask your doctor about the best vaccine for you or your child’s circumstances.
For more information visit the Immunise Australia website at: www.immunise.health.gov.au