More Pharmacists Recruited To Fight The Flu

Protecting yourself from the flu is now easier than ever thanks to a new Andrews Labor Government initiative that has seen more than 500 pharmacists across hundreds of locations ready and trained to provide a flu shot this season.

Minister for Health Jill Hennessy today visited Priceline Pharmacy in Williamstown to encourage all Victorians to reduce the risk of influenza and get immunised.

The Labor Government’s Pharmacist-Administered Vaccination Program means adults can now get their annual flu vaccination from a fully-trained pharmacist.

With 87 per cent of Victorians living within 2.5km of a pharmacist, families now have another close and convenient option to access these critical vaccinations.

Giving families more options to access vaccinations protects the most vulnerable Victorians at risk of vaccine-preventable diseases, while also building immunity levels across the whole community.

Victorians most at risk include the elderly, pregnant women, Indigenous people, very young children and people with chronic medical conditions.

Viruses also change and the vaccine is updated depending on the circulating flu strains. That means that Victorians should get the flu shot every year, ideally before the flu season starts. Vaccinations are available from general practitioners and immunisation providers, including pharmacists.

Influenza is a highly contagious virus that is spread by coughs and sneezes. Each year, flu causes widespread illness in the community and contributes to about 13,500 hospitalisations and 3,000 deaths in Australia.

In 2016 there were 12,793 cases of influenza reported in Victoria. With 1125 cases reported up to 1 April 2017, there has been a significant increase compared to the same time last year.

Eligible adults are able to receive the influenza vaccine under the National Immunisation Program. Those eligible will pay a small service fee, while those not eligible can still receive the flu vaccination from their pharmacist for a fee that covers the cost of the vaccine and the pharmacist’s service fee.

Pharmacists can also deliver vaccines under the Labor Government’s Parents’ Whooping Cough Vaccination Program. Find your local vaccinating pharmacist on our live map at https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/public-health/immunisation/immunisers-in-victoria/pharmacist-immunisers/vaccination-services

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy

“For busy adults, we know it can be hard to find the time to get a flu shot. Now, visiting your local pharmacy is another safe and convenient way to get vaccinated and protect yourself against the flu.”

“Most of us live within a five minute drive of a pharmacy. We’re making it easier for all Victorians to get vaccinated closer to home.”

“As we head into another winter, I urge everyone to get protected from the flu again, even if you had the flu shot last year.”