Calls For Free Flu Vaccines Following Spike In ‘Kindy Flu’

Following massive spike in cases

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The state’s opposition has called for free flu vaccinations for all South Australians following a spike in ‘kindy flu’ numbers.

There have been 1,592 confirmed cases of influenza in the state already this year – up from just the 52 recorded this time last year.

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Of the confirmed cases, SA health data revealed about 500 have been children aged nine years old or younger. 

Health spokesperson Ashton Hurn told the Advertiser the next few months would be “really, really challenging” for the state.

“When we look at our health system at the moment, we just know that the system is under extraordinary stress ... with record ramping and overcrowding,” she said.

“The government’s got to do everything that it possibly can to have every line of defence up and running, so that people can protect themselves and ultimately protect the health system.”

In South Australia, the flu vaccine is only free for eligible people under the National Immunisation Program (NIP) which includes for children aged between six months and five years; people aged over 65; pregnant women; people aged six months and older with medical risks; and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged six months and over.

Last year, flu vaccines were made free for all people through pharmacies and GP’s which cost the state nearly $5 million. 

Health Minister Chris Picton said a winter management plan was due for release at the start of May, and a free flu vaccine plane was continuing to be considered.

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26 April 2023

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