Tuesday, 3 March 2020
FAMILIES across the Northern Tablelands will have greater access to influenza vaccinations this winter with the State Government lowering the age a pharmacist can administer flu jabs to children from 16 to 10 years, Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall announced today.
Mr Marshall said the decision was welcome news for rural families who may find it difficult to get into see their local GP.
“This provides families with greater protection against the winter flu and potential convergence of a COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Marshall said.
“Last year was the longest flu season on record and in 2017 more than 650 people in NSW died from flu-related conditions, now we have COVID-19.
“While the flu vaccine won’t combat COVID-19, it will help reduce the severity and spread of flu, which can lower a person’s immunity and make them susceptible to other illnesses.
“By allowing pharmacists to administer privately purchased flu vaccines to people aged 10 years and over, families now have more choice when booking-in for a flu jab.”
The State Government has invested approximately $130 million in the 2019-20 Immunisation Program Budget, including Commonwealth and state vaccines.
Mr Marshall said this year’s flu vaccine was expected to be available from mid-April.
“By not getting vaccinated against flu not only do you risk your own health but you can potentially spread the infection to others more vulnerable, like children and the elderly,” he said.
“This year’s flu vaccine will be specifically tailored to the strains expected to pose the greatest risk but as always, call ahead to ensure your GP or pharmacist has your dose.
“As a community we need to take every step we can to stop the spread of flu and transmission of COVID-19 and so I urge everyone who is able to get vaccinated.”
People aged 65 and over, pregnant women, Aboriginal people and those with high-risk medical conditions can be vaccinated for free by GPs under the National Immunisation Program. The free NSW-funded vaccine is available to all children aged six months to five years.
Amendments to the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation 2008 to lower the age that pharmacists can supply and administer a private market influenza vaccine to include people aged 10 years and over, are expected to come into effect by mid-March.