State Government to provide free flu shots

For the first time in South Australia’s history, the State Government will provide free flu shots to all South Australians in a significant move to ease pressure on the state’s hospitals.

Premier Peter Malinauskas said South Australia was facing the prospect of the combined spread of COVID-19 and influenza during winter for the first time and the government was taking action to ensure as many people as possible get vaccinated against both.

From now through to June 30, all South Australians will be able to access the influenza vaccine for free. The free jabs will be funded via a subsidy scheme for South Australian GPs and pharmacists.

In an additional move to encourage more children to get vaccinated, pharmacies around South Australia are also now permitted to administer flu vaccinations to children aged 5 to 9 years of age. Previously it was only children aged 10 and above.

The free flu vax program has been designed to offer an incentive for as many South Australians to get vaccinated as soon as possible so they can protect themselves when influenza is forecast to peak later in winter.

The latest stats show so far this year there have been 1195 confirmed cases of influenza in South Australia, compared with 12 cases for the same period last year.

About 30% of South Australians have received their influenza vaccination since March 1. There are an estimated 938,000 South Australians who are not already eligible for free influenza vaccination who have yet to receive the jab.

It is estimated the program will cost $4.9m.

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