The election is only hours old and already we have the most disgraceful health scare campaign from Labor – this time on the flu vaccination and children.
It is utterly shameful that Daniel Andrews is politicising the flu season and we utterly reject the Victorian Labor Government’s assertion.
Daniel Andrews has been caught out deliberately and irresponsibly politicising the National Immunisation Program (NIP).
Immunisation is critical to maintaining public health and preventing the outbreak of infectious diseases.
Through the National Immunisation Program, the Federal Government funds free flu vaccinations for:
- All people aged six months and older if they have a medical condition that predisposes them to severe influenza (such as people who have weakened immune systems, heart disease and certain chronic conditions).
- All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people six months and over,
- people 65 years and over,
- pregnant women.
This is a very successful program which saves lives every year.
Last year a record 11 million Australians got a flu shot and over 6 million of these were free through the Federal Government’s National Immunisation Program.
In 2017 nearly 250,000 cases of influenza had been reported. This fell to 58,824 cases in 2018.
Last year 102 people lost their lives from influenza compared to 1150 in 2017.
It is highly hypocritical and dangerously irresponsible of Victorian Labor to raise these issues when in 2018 Victoria under-ordered and the Federal Government had to step in and secure additional flu vaccines to cover their failure.
By law, in order for a vaccine to be listed on the National Immunisation Program, it must be recommended by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC).
The Government lists all medicines and vaccines recommended by the independent expert committee.
Last year alone, we invested $430 million in vaccines and activities which boost immunisation. This includes free vaccines against 17 vaccine preventable diseases, including 14 diseases for children aged four years or under.
Our immunisation rates for Australians aged 5 years is amongst the highest in the world with currently 94.67 per cent of all five year old children, nearing the herd immunity rate of 95 per cent.