After two years of lockdown and social distancing, the flu has returned with a vengeance.
Lab-confirmed cases of the flu were among the worst rates on record in 2017, resulting in 29,000 hospitalizations and 745 deaths across Australia.
When the pandemic struck, the flu disappeared, but better hygiene measures were adopted and lockdowns limited the movements of the population.
But now the easing of COVID restrictions means people are out and this has led to a rise in flu cases.
Health officials are now urging Australians to get a flu shot to ease increasing pressure on hospitals.
And to encourage people to do the same, the vaccine is now being offered for free. But its availability varies across states and regions.
Who is giving the jab for free?
new South Wales Will offer a “month-long blitz” beginning June 1 and ending on June 30 for anyone over the age of six.
Previously vaccines were only available free of charge to certain high-risk groups, but Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said officials were concerned by the sharp rise in infections.
queenslanders People over the age of six months can get a free influenza vaccination until June 30.
The decision was announced last week after an initial and rapid surge of Influenza A was detected across the state.
Premier Annastasia Palaszczuk said she had made an “unprecedented” decision to protect people amid low rates of immunity.
western australian Those over the age of six months can get a free flu jab from June 1 through June 30.
The Department of Health’s “Free When June” initiative was announced by Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson on May 29.
“We already make vaccinations free for our most vulnerable, but by expanding this program throughout June we are making the flu jab more easily accessible to everyone,” she said.
all South Australian People over the age of six months can get a flu shot for free until June 30.
In a statement, SA Premier Peter Malinouskas said the state would have free vaccines available in the program costing about $5 million.
In earlier SA, only certain groups of people, such as young children and those with medical risk factors, were eligible for the free flu vaccine.
However, due to specific circumstances, SA will make flu vaccines free for all residents until June 30.
As of last week, 171,000 Tasmanian have had a flu shot, and the vaccine is free for anyone age five and older, But only in community COVID and flu vaccination clinics,
The state government is hoping that people who come for the free flu shot will also update themselves with a COVID shot, as both are available at the same appointment.
Victoria, Northern Territory and ACT
As it stands, the situation is different – or developing – in Victoria, the Northern Territory and the ACT.
The Andrews government has yet to announce a free flu vaccination plan, but there are strong indications that such a program may come to the fore soon.
The Victorian branch of the Australian Medical Association says it has been in talks with the Victorian government over the past week on a statewide program.
AMA’s Victorian president Roderick McCrae said he would put more pressure on the government if he did not announce a plan by the middle of the week.
However, in act And northern region You’re only able to get a free flu jab if you’re part of a vulnerable group.
In the Act, that means it covers children aged six months to five years, pregnant women, people 65 and older, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over six months of age, and those older than six months with underlying medical conditions. limited to people.
and in the northern region, It’s free for Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders, vulnerable people, and young children.
But Rob Parker, president of the Australian Medical Association NT, said the region should follow the lead of other regions and offer residents free flu jabs.
“Potentially making it free for all will encourage more people, so that would be the best thing to do.” [to do],” They said.
GP, clinics or pharmacies? Where can I get a free flu shot?
NSW Health is urging people to book at GPs and pharmacies to get the jab.
Pharmacies are now able to provide the vaccine to children age five and older, so families can be vaccinated together.
Dr Michael Bonning, President of the Australian Medical Association NSW, said people should respect their GPs and practice staff when transitioning to the free flu vaccine programme.
In queensland, You can get a jab at a pharmacy or a GP (the GP may charge you for an appointment).
Free vaccine booking can be done through Pharmacist and GP.
While there was some initial concern about whether there would be enough doses to go around, Chris Owen, president of the Pharmacy Guild Australia Queensland, said there is a steady stockpile for now.
“We have a lot of stock at the moment, and wholesalers have stock too,” he said.
“With the announcement of other states coming on board with free flu [vaccine] program, the long-term outlook is not so safe.
In Western Australia, You can get a free influenza vaccine at participating community pharmacies and state-led vaccination clinics.
Other providers such as participating general practices will also be able to provide free influenza vaccination.
Information about locations offering free flu vaccines through June 2022 at rollupforva.com.au. available on
In South Australia, The free vaccination program has been welcomed by the Gram Panchayats of the state.
“Everyone benefits from the flu vaccine”, said Vaccination Coalition president and Adelaide GP Rod Pierce.
Free vaccines will be available from pharmacies and GPs.
Children between the ages of five and nine will now be able to get the vaccine at a pharmacy.
Tasmanian Vaccines can be obtained for free through a GP and at some local council clinics and pharmacies. You can see a list of clinics and timings here.
Of those clinics, the flu jab is free at GP clinics and pharmacies: children six months to five years of age; all adults 65 years of age and older; pregnant women (at any stage of your pregnancy); Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged six months; All people older than six months with chronic medical conditions.
People from other groups who do not want to go to the vaccination clinic will have to pay.