- Western Australians urged to stay well this winter by getting vaccinated against the flu (influenza)
- McGowan Government to offer free flu vaccines for everyone during May
- Influenza vaccines will be available at participating GPs, community pharmacies, Aboriginal Medical Services and regional clinics
- Next week a public health awareness campaign "Stay Well' will begin, reminding all Western Australians to keep up to date with their COVID-19 and flu vaccinations
The McGowan Government will offer free flu vaccines for all Western Australians during the month of May, to help prevent people from severe illness this winter.
Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory illness that can cause life-threatening complications, particularly among older adults and people with underlying medical conditions.
Young children are also at risk of serious illness with around 1,500 Australian children hospitalised each year with influenza; tragically some children die from this vaccine-preventable disease.
More than 50 per cent of young Australian children admitted to hospital with influenza are otherwise healthy. The best protection against influenza illness is vaccination.
While the influenza vaccine is not currently registered for babies under six months, babies are 25 per cent less likely to be hospitalised with influenza in the first few months of life if their mum receives the vaccine while pregnant.
Getting a free flu jab in May will optimise protection over the peak period for influenza transmission in WA - typically from June to September.
Free influenza vaccines are available year-round through the National Immunisation Program for people considered most at risk of severe illness including:
- pregnant women (at any stage of pregnancy);
- people aged 65 years and over;
- children from six months to under 12 years;
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people six months or older; and
- People who are immunocompromised or have medical conditions such as cardiac disease, chronic respiratory conditions, neurological conditions, renal disease, haematological disorders, or diabetes.
Healthcare workers and staff who work with children and the elderly are also encouraged to get vaccinated.
COVID-19 infections are increasing in the community and Western Australians are encouraged to make sure they are also up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations which are available from participating GPs, community pharmacies, Aboriginal Medical Services and regional community clinics.
Influenza and COVID-19 vaccines can be given on the same day. Last year, more than 10,000 influenza infections were notified to the Department of Health.
For more information about the flu vaccination visit Staying healthy in winter (healthywa.wa.gov.au).
Comments attributed to Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson:
"This May is a chance for all Western Australians to arm themselves against serious illness this winter and get vaccinated against the flu.
"Do not underestimate the seriousness of influenza - it is highly contagious and can cause great harm.
"It is especially important that young children, older adults, and people with chronic medical conditions protect themselves by getting vaccinated.
"Now is also the time to make sure your COVID-19 vaccinations are up to date, influenza and COVID-19 vaccines can be given on the same day.
"Book your appointment now at participating GPs, pharmacies and immunisation clinics across the State.
"As always people experiencing cold, or flu-like symptoms are encouraged to stay home, take a RAT and register any positive result with WA Health."
Minister's office - 6552 5900