Expanding access for free flu vaccinations statewide

Jeremy Rockliff,Minister for Health

Children aged as young as six months will be able to be vaccinated against influenza at free state-run vaccination clinics across Tasmania from this Saturday, June 4.

Currently, the minimum age for influenza vaccinations in state-run clinics is 5 years old.

This important change will further increase access to influenza vaccinations across the State to ensure as many Tasmanians as possible can be protected from the severe impacts of the flu.

Our state clinics are specially organised to accommodate young children, with nurses trained in paediatric vaccination and longer appointment times.

This weekend, the mass clinic at MyState Bank Arena in Glenorchy will have the capacity to vaccinate more than a thousand people a day and southern Tasmanians are encouraged to turn out to get their free flu jab.

While GPs and pharmacies remain the primary provider of influenza vaccinations, this flu season we are supporting the primary care sector to expand access, including areas without access to vaccination providers.

There have been more than 184,000 vaccinations against influenza delivered in Tasmania so far this year to date. This is significantly higher than in previous years, with more than 66% of our over 65-year-olds already vaccinated, compared to the national average of 60%.

However, we are concerned that only 12.5% of our vulnerable six month to 5-year-olds have been vaccinated, a trend that is also being reported nationwide.

It is very important, with the tripling of influenza cases experienced in mainland states, that over the coming eight weeks we target vaccination for our youngest Tasmanians, many of whom have not experienced a winter flu season before.

We also need to finish the job of vaccinating the 34% of over 65s that are yet to come forward, our immunocompromised, our pregnant women, and our Tasmanian Aboriginal population.

With winter now upon us, I encourage all Tasmanians, even if you do not fall into a priority group, to roll up your sleeves and come forward to be vaccinated against influenza to avoid the severe complications that could occur and lessen the impact on our hospitals and GPs who are left to manage severe respiratory illness in our population.

Along with our very high levels of vaccination against COVID-19 across the population, increasing our flu vaccination rates will offer even better protection against severe respiratory illness.

The vaccine also reduces the chance of catching and spreading the flu, which means those who are vaccinated may protect their family, friends and loved ones, and the wider Tasmanian community.

I want to acknowledge the dedication and commitment of the teams involved in the COVID-19 and influenza vaccination effort in our state-run clinics across the State, who have ensured a high level of protection for the population.

This weekend, there are a number of clinics running across the State to ensure increased access to flu vaccinations for Tasmanians. They include:

  • June 4-5, MyState Bank Arena, Glenorchy, 9am-4.30pm;
  • June 4-5, Launceston, 12-14 St John St, 9am-4.30pm;
  • June 4, Hobart City, 109 Collins St, 9am-4.30pm;
  • June 4, Ulverstone Civic Centre, 10am-3.30pm;
  • June 4, Margate Primary School, 10am-3.30pm;
  • June 5, New Norfolk RSL, 10am-3.30pm; and
  • June 5, Sheffield, Kentish House, 10am-3.30pm.

/Public Release. View in full here.