The RACGP is calling for free vaccinations for all Australians, following NSW’s announcement of free jabs for under-fives
Children between six months and five years old will be eligible for free flu vaccinations this year, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced today.
“NSW, like the rest of the country, was subjected to a horror flu season last year. The program will target more than 400,000 children and ensure better protection for them and the wider community,” Ms Berejiklian says.
“NSW is now ensuring every child under five has the opportunity to be better protected this winter.”
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard pointed out that infants and young children are the most lkely to spread the flu and suffer complications.
As a result, the free vaccinations will also help protect their family and friends, he says.
The RACGP welcomed the move but is now calling for a further commitment from the Federal Government – to extend a free vaccination program for all Australian adults.
Such a government-subsidised flu vaccination program is “long overdue,” says RACGP president, Dr Bastian Seidel.
“Far more needs to be done to protect Australians from influenza,” Dr Seidel said.
“Influenza vaccines should be available to every Australian this winter, not only children.
“Our political leaders must commit to this in an effort to avoid a repeat of last year’s flu season.”
Dr Seidel told the AJP that the priority is increasing vaccination rates, though he encouraged Australians to visit their GP regarding vaccinations.
“GPs remain the cornerstone of an effective and timely immunisation program,” he says.
“GPs will be able to offer specific advice suited to parents and their children’s individual needs and circumstances, therefore we encourage patients to see their regular GP to receive their immunisations or to receive further information on immunisations.
“Having said that, the principle of all Australians receiving immunisations to protect themselves, family and vulnerable individuals (aged, children, those who are unwell) is the most important thing in this instance.”
A spokesperson for the Guild said that “the Pharmacy Guild certainly supports the widest possible provision of flu vaccination for Australians”.
“Fortunately, with the advent of pharmacist vaccination available through community pharmacies across Australia, more and more Australians are gaining access to the protection of a flu vaccination.”