26 September 2023

Free jabs to blunt spike in flu cases

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The Department of Health says the Free Jab May and June campaign has seen more than 890,000 Western Australians vaccinated against influenza this year.

It said vaccination was the best defence for people to protect themselves from the flu, which was highly contagious.

“Influenza can cause life-threatening complications, particularly among older adults, people with underlying medical conditions and young children,” the Department said.

As of 25 June, 10,743 influenza cases had been reported to the Department. Of these, 39 per cent were children younger than 12 years old.

“COVID-19 infections are also circulating in the community and Western Australians are encouraged to make sure they are also up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations,” the Department said.

Minister for Health, Amber-Jade Sanderson said it was encouraging to see more than 890,000 Western Australians had been vaccinated this year.

“Influenza can cause very serious illness in vulnerable people, including children, older adults, people with certain underlying health conditions and pregnant women,” Ms Sanderson said.

“The number of influenza notifications and hospitalisations in WA are higher this year than the previous five-year average, and a concerning number of young children have been hospitalised with the flu.”

She said children were at higher risk of serious complications from the flu, which was why doctors recommended vaccinations from six months of age.

“My message to the community this winter is if you are sick, please stay home from work or day care. Wash or sanitise your hands regularly, cover coughs, and get vaccinated against flu and COVID-19,” the Minister said.

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