Stronger flu vaccinations for Australians over the age of 65

26 February, 2018

The Royal Australia College of General Practitioners welcomes the Turnbull Government’s decision to provide stronger free flu vaccines to all Australians over the age of 65, but says more must be done to protect patients and save lives ahead of this year’s flu season.

RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel said the February 18 announcement was a step in the right direction, but a government subsidised flu vaccination program must be introduced so all Australians can receive a free flu vaccination through their GP.

“Now we need to see our Federal Government further commit to safeguarding Australians from a repeat of last year’s flu season by introducing a government-subsidised flu vaccination program for all Australians,” Dr Seidel said.

“Influenza vaccines should be available to every Australian through their GP this winter, not just those over the age of 65.”

Dr Seidel said a government-subsidised flu vaccination program would cost far less than the economic losses from the 3000 deaths a year, mounting hospital and health bills, and lost work productivity.

“We are seeing the same story over and over again, on average 3000 deaths a year, 18000 hospital admissions and 350000 Australians affected by the flu,” Dr Seidel said.

“It is in the best interest of the people of Australian that our government extend today’s announcement of free flu vaccinations for those over 65 years to every Australian.”

Dr Seidel said the ‘ground-breaking’ new flu vaccinations highlighted in the Government’s announcement would provide little benefit for the community if they were not received by all Australians.

“There is no point having a stronger vaccination if a large percentage of our population is not receiving it,” Dr Seidel said.

“Creating herd immunity will impede the spread of flu across the community.

“It will protect those who are vulnerable to influenza, like children and the elderly.”

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