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Flu shots will be free for everyone in Vic until July 10

A major increase in cases has prompted the state government to make the influenza vaccination more accessible

Written by
Eliza Campbell

While Australia’s borders were shut to the rest of the world and lockdown measures and health restrictions were in effect, the Land Down Under briefly managed to functionally eradicate influenza from its population. However, with borders now open again and almost all health protocols lifted, the flu is back in a big way – prompting the state government to intact a $33 million package of free vaccines until July 10.

Cases of the flu in Victoria have already increased more than 30 per cent in the past week – from 10,000 to 15,000, more than the combined number of reported infections from the past two years. Health Minister Martin Foley emphasised that this new program would help keep Victorians safe as they approach what will undoubtedly be a challenging winter for sickness. 

"What this will do is make it easier and more accessible for everyone else to come forward and get that free vaccination to keep themselves safe in the face of what looks like a really nasty flu season," he said.

The flu jab has previously only been free for certain high-risk groups, including pregnant women, people aged 65 and above, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Now, all Victorians over six months of age will be able to access the vaccines at GP clinics and pharmacies – with more than 3,000 clinics participating in the rollout.

People over 65, those with compromised immune systems and other eligible people are also being urged to get their second booster dose of a Covid-19 vaccine before winter, with health experts expecting a surge in cases as indoor gatherings increase over the colder months.

More details about how you can access your flu shot can be found on the Victorian Department of Health website.

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