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Free Flu Vaccinations for Children

3 May 2018

Children in the Southern Grampians Shire aged between six months and five years are eligible for free flu shots from May, under a $3.5 million plan to fight the illness.

In 2017, Australia experienced its worse flu season in nearly a decade, according to the Department of Health. In response, the Victorian Government announced in February it will spend $3.5 million to offer the free children's influenza vaccinations.

Usually concern with influenza is focused on the elderly, but last year about 4,000 children under five were diagnosed in Victoria — compared to only 871 in 2016.

Southern Grampians Shire Council Mayor Mary-Ann Brown said under the 2018 Victorian Government immunisation plan, children, people over 65 and a small group of others would be eligible for free flu shots.

“Influenza in very young children can be a very nasty illness, and this kind of vaccination can save lives,” Cr Mary-Ann Brown said.

"People don't necessarily understand that the flu can cause death but we learnt from last year's horrific flu season that it isn't just the elderly that are affected. I encourage all parents of children aged between six months and five years to ensure they take advantage of these free vaccines,” Mayor Brown concluded.

Parents are advised that children who have not received a flu vaccination previously will need book two appointments (one in May and one in July) to ensure the child has two shots, each given one month apart. Children who received the flu shot last year will only need a booster shot which can be given at both the May and July sessions.

The dates and times for children’s flu vaccinations in Southern Grampians Shire are as follows:

  • Tuesday 22 May 10am – 12pm
  • Thursday 24 May 2pm – 4pm
  • Monday 2 July 10am – 12pm
  • Tuesday 3 July 2pm – 4pm

The Sessions will be held in the Ted Kenna Room at the Hamilton Performing Arts Centre. Bookings are essential and can be made by contacting Kristie McCabe at Maternal and Child Health on 5551 8579.

As per previous years, free influenza vaccinations are also available to all Victorians aged 65 and over, and free influenza vaccinations are available to all Indigenous and Torres Strait Island people aged 15 and over. The session will take place Friday 11 May between 10.00am and 12.00 noon at the Senior Citizens Clubrooms in Hamilton. To make an appointment, please contact Frances Hewett Community Centre on 5551 8579.

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