South Australians will now have access to free flu vaccination until the end of winter, with the State Government announcing an extension to the program.
The program will continue until August 31 to give people more opportunity to protect themselves and their families against the flu – and help ease pressure on our hospitals facing the unprecedented challenge of influenza and COVID-19 at the same time.
More than 240,000 South Australians have received their free flu shot since the campaign was launched in May, the first of its kind in the state’s history.
More than 850,000 flu vaccines have been administered in South Australia so far this year, compared with 779,000 at the same time last year – and 787,000 doses overall for 2021.
This latest extension follows big boosts in the number of children aged five years or younger getting vaccinated (18,578 doses recorded since May 29); people under 65 (183,955): and those over 65 (38,226).
The program is a driving force in South Australia leading the way for influenza vaccination, as new data shows our population has the highest uptake rate in the nation.
Nearly half of South Australians (48%) have had a flu shot compared to Victoria (44%), New South Wales (41%) and Queensland (39%).
A free flu shot and an updated COVID vaccine are both widely available at hundreds of GP clinics and pharmacies across the state.
The uptake comes as the number of flu cases recorded in South Australia reached 10,280 cases as of July 28, compared with 16 at the same time last year. In the past week 483 cases were recorded, with a median age of 25 years in the past week.
There have been 37 hospitalisations in the past week, with 929 requiring hospital admission this year.
No deaths from influenza have been reported.
Health Minister Chris Picton said the government wanted to do everything it could to protect South Australians and keep them out of hospital this winter.
“Extending our free flu vaccination program is another step we are taking right now to reduce pressure on our health system,” he said.
“I am urging anyone yet to roll up their sleeves to head to their GP or pharmacy, get vaccinated and take advantage of this state-first program.
“You’ll be helping yourself, your family and the frontline workers already dealing with significant demand.
“I also want to thank GPs and pharmacists who have worked with the government to deliver what continues to be an excellent initiative.”