It’s time to roll up your sleeve and get a cheeky jab because it’s flu season again. Yup, that devastating disease is back for the winter, and it’s not to be messed with. According to the World Health Organization, the influenza kills between 290,000 and 650,000 people every single year.
Fortunately for most of us that live in Australia, getting a flu shot is pretty easy. Moreover, a whack of states have made this jab free for everyone. But which states have implemented this rad policy? And if you don’t live in one of them, are you still eligible for a free vaccine?
Well, if you’re pondering these sorts of questions, then here’s a breakdown of each state and territories flu shot policies:
After spending a bit of time working out the logistics, the NSW government has made it possible for all of its residents to get a free flu shot from June 1. As per NSW Health, these jabs will be available from GPs and pharmacies until June 30.
“We strongly urge everyone over six months of age to get a flu shot as soon as possible to protect themselves and their loved ones, as the virus is easily spread and potentially deadly,” said Chief Health Officer Dr. Kerry Chant.
She also noted, “This is particularly important for those in high-risk groups, such as the elderly and children aged six months to five years. If you live in an aged or disability care facility, are aged over 65, or are immunocompromised, now is the time to book in.”
Unfortunately, Tassie isn’t offering free flu shots for all of its residents this year. However, some of its folks are eligible for a zero-dollar jab. The Tasmanian Government’s Department of Health has stated that if you’re over 64 years old, pregnant, an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individual, or a person with a particular chronic illness, then you’re eligible for a free flu shot. Moreover, if you have kids that are between six months and five years old, then they also can get a complimentary vaccine.
But that isn’t all the Tasmanian Government is doing. They are rolling out free vaccine clinics for its regional essential workers and those who can’t get a flu vaccine elsewhere. If you want to learn about where these pop-up clinics are, then follow this handy-dandy link.
Like NSW, most South Australians are now able to get free flu shots. The ABC reported that this government’s health minister Chris Picton stated after this announcement, “We do know that a significant number of the flu cases we’ve already seen this year are in young people and children, so it’s really important we get them protected, as well as vulnerable groups.”
According to SA Health, if you live in this state, you should chat with your GP or a local pharmacy in order to lock in your free jab.
Like Tasmania, the ACT Government isn’t offering all of its residents’ free flu vaccines. You can only access this service if you’re an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individual, have certain underlying medical conditions, aged between six months old and five years old, pregnant, or are 65-years-old or older. However, unlike Tasmania, the ACT isn’t offering free flu vaccines to those in regional areas who are critical workers or somehow disadvantaged.
Western Australia is another state that’s letting its residents get jabbed up without spending their own cash. The state’s premier Mark McGowan explained that making flu vaccines free was the right move to make because the state’s borders are now open. The Western Australian reported that he said that there’s “a strong chance we’ll have high numbers of flu cases coming into WA and therefore potential spread of the flu around WA.”
If you live in Western Australia, you can get your free flu vaccine from state-led vaccination clinics, some GPs, and certain pharmacies. However, Healthy WA has stated that kids that are under five years old cannot be vaccinated at any state-led vaccination clinic.
Queensland was the first state to introduce this clever initiative. On May 23, the Queensland Government announced that they’d be allowing all of its residents to be flu jabbed for free. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said that they implemented this policy because, “To fight COVID-19 and the flu is doubly hard.”
If you want to learn more about Queensland’s policy, then here’s an excellent story about it that’s right here on The Latch.
Folks in the Northern Territory can only get a free flu vaccine if they’re over 64 years old, an Aboriginal individual, impacted by certain chronic medical conditions, pregnant, or a child between six months old and five years old. So basically, these peeps are in a very similar boat as their fellow Tasmanians and Canberrans. According to NT.GOV.AU, you’ll have to head to a remote health centre, a community care centre, or an Aboriginal medical services clinic in order to get your complimentary jab.
The ABC has detailed that all residents of Victoria can now get a free flu vaccination. These peeps will be able to get a jab at one of the 3000+ participating GP clinics or pharmacies that are helping out with this scheme. Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley was on board for this program, as he stated, “What this will do is make it easier and more accessible for everyone else to come forward and get that free vaccination to keep themselves safe in the face of what looks like a really nasty flu season.”