McGowan Government to extend free flu jabs for all West Australians

  • McGowan Government to extend free flu vaccines through the month of June
  • Every Western Australian aged over 6 months is eligible for protective immunisation against influenza
  • Parents urged to make sure their children are vaccinated, with children aged 0 to nine years making up 34 per cent of all hospitalisations for influenza
  • Immunisation remains the best defence against influenza

With winter approaching and hospitalisations for influenza on the rise, Western Australians are being urged to take advantage of the McGowan Government’s free influenza vaccination program – now running until the end of June.

WA is on track to achieve a significant vaccination coverage this year with more than 566,946 Western Australians being vaccinated against the flu so far – 338,401 of those people were vaccinated during Free Jab May.

Last year, under the Free Jab June and July program 362,000 jabs were administered, with more than one million Western Australians being vaccinated in total.

Only certain cohorts were offered free influenza vaccinations in previous years under existing State and Commonwealth vaccination programs.

Influenza spreads quickly from person to person. Symptoms can include fever, chills, aches, runny nose, coughing and an upset stomach. Immunisation is the best protection against the influenza virus.

So far this year, 538 people have been hospitalised with the flu, with children aged zero to nine years making up 34 per cent of hospitalisations.

Children between the ages of six months and five years are making up the biggest proportion of those hospitalised with influenza. Of the 445 influenza notifications in this age bracket, 91 children were hospitalised.

Older people, young children, pregnant women, and those with certain medical conditions are at a higher risk of developing serious complications from influenza such as pneumonia.

Young children are also at risk of serious illness with around 1,500 Australian children hospitalised each year with influenza; tragically, some children die from this vaccine-preventable disease.

Free vaccinations are available at GPs, Aboriginal Medical Services, and participating community pharmacies throughout May and June.

For more information, visit HealthyWA.

As stated by Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson:

“With the extension of the free flu program there is still time for you to receive your flu vaccination if you haven’t already.

“The peak period for influenza transmission in WA is typically from June to September, and now is also the time to make sure your COVID-19 vaccinations are up to date.

“A double infection could be more serious than having either influenza or COVID alone.

“The State Government continues to work with pharmacies and GPs to provide a free vaccination for every Western Australian ahead of winter.

“I urge anyone who has not yet had their influenza vaccination to please book an appointment at GPs, pharmacies and immunisation clinics across the State.”

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