Free Flu Vaccine For Children Aged Under 5 Years

Free Flu Vaccine For Children Aged Under 5 Years

South Australia Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade

Free Flu Vaccine Distribution

Victor P Taffa

Distribution of free flu vaccines for children aged under 5 and other eligible groups has been brought forward, in response to the unusually high number of cases of flu at this time of year.

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said vaccination is the best way to protect the community against the flu, and immunisation providers will receive the stock for those eligible for free flu shots over the next fortnight and throughout the season.

“Flu is always circulating in the community, but we have seen the highest number of cases for this time of year in more than 10 years, so we have begun distributing vaccines as soon as they have become available.” Minister Wade said.

“State Government is again funding free flu shots for about 90,000 eligible children aged between 6 months and under 5 years to help protect vulnerable young children and minimise the spread of the flu.”

“Vaccinating young children can help protect vulnerable people in the community, including the elderly and babies under 6 months who are too young to receive a flu vaccination, so I urge all parents to get their children vaccinated.”

Distribution of flu vaccines for people aged 65 years and older has already begun, and while distribution for all other eligible groups begins today, it can take up to 2 weeks to reach immunisation providers so appointments may not be immediately available.

South Australia Health’s Director of the Communicable Disease Control Branch, Dr. Louise Flood, said since January 1 there have been 4,485 confirmed cases of influenza, with 1,012 reported in the past week, compared to 1,139 for the same time last year.

“While it’s not possible to predict the severity of a flu season, it’s important the community remains vigilant.” Dr. Flood said.

“For many, the flu causes moderate symptoms that ease after a few days, but for others it can lead to severe illness and sometimes even death.”

“I would urge everyone to contact their GP or immunisation provider to get a flu shot, especially those in the high-risk groups such as young children, people aged over 65 and pregnant women, who can get vaccinated for free.”

“Anyone who is sick with the flu or experiencing flu-like symptoms should stay home to reduce the spread, and also practice good hygiene such as washing hands regularly and covering coughs.” Dr. Flood said.

Free flu vaccinations are available for people aged 65 years and over, children under 5 years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and older, pregnant women and people with certain medical conditions.