Hon Roger Cook BA GradDipBus MBA MLA

Hon Roger Cook BA GradDipBus MBA MLA

Deputy Premier; Minister for Health; Mental Health

    Early influenza shots for over 65s

    19/03/2020 3:40 PM
    • Western Australia's over 65 influenza vaccinations available soon
    • Initiative aims to reduce influenza infection in the community and reduce pressure on our hospitals
    • All WA primary school children to receive free influenza vaccine under expanded program

    The McGowan Government is advising older Western Australians to book an appointment for their annual influenza vaccination.


    Free vaccinations for the over 65s will be available in the first week of April from GPs, immunisation clinics and some community pharmacies.


    People aged 65 years and over are at higher risk of serious complications from flu than other healthy adults and are strongly advised to get the flu vaccine every year.


    The vaccine increases the immune system's response in the over 65s, who are known to have a weaker response to influenza.


    Immunisation is even more critical this year as WA hospitals prepare to deal with the impact of COVID-19.


    The McGowan Government will also roll out a new free influenza immunisation program for all primary school children with vaccines available after Easter.


    Seasonal influenza is a common, highly contagious, viral respiratory illness that last year saw 3,224 hospital admissions and 80 deaths in WA.


    While the influenza vaccine won't prevent people from contracting COVID-19, it can help reduce the number of patients needing tests and care - relieving the pressure on WA's health system and hospitals.


    Research has shown if 20 per cent of school aged children are vaccinated, it can reduce hospital admissions in all age groups related to influenza by over 30 per cent.


    For more information on the flu vaccine visit https://healthywa.wa.gov.au/


    Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook:


    "It's never been more important to protect our families.


    "I urge older Western Australians and parents of children - six months to Year 6 - to take advantage of our free vaccination programs this year.


    "These vaccinations are really important right now as we expect to see seasonal influenza overlap with the COVID-19 virus.


    "And while getting the influenza vaccine won't prevent you from getting COVID-19, it can help reduce the number of patients needing tests and care - relieving the pressure on our health system and hospitals."


    Minister's office - 6552 6500