Protecting Our Kids From The Flu As Canberra Fails To Act

The Andrews Labor Government will once again ensure kids under five can get a free flu shot next winter as new data shows flu cases have dropped dramatically.

Minister for Health Jill Hennessy today announced the Labor Government will go it alone again and make flu shots available for children aged between six months and five years in the hope that the Federal Liberals will eventually come to the party and fund a national immunisation program for the high-risk cohort.

According to new data, a record 1.7 million free doses of influenza vaccine have been given to Victorians to protect them during the current flu season – a 45 per cent increase compared with 2017.

That’s meant 85 per cent fewer cases of flu so far in 2018, compared with the horror flu season 12 months earlier, but we are still in the midst of the flu’s peak season.

The 2017 flu season was one of Victoria’s worst on record, with more than 48,000 cases reported. It hit our ambulances and our busy emergency departments hard.

But so far this year, there’s been 4,953 flu cases reported, compared with 35,346 for the same period in 2017. The number of flu outbreaks in residential aged care facilities has also plunged from 223 to 15.

More Victorians than ever before know that vaccinations save lives, but Scott Morrison and the Federal Liberals continue to keep our kids out in the cold and refuse to protect them with a national program.

The Labor Government’s free flu shots are just one of the ways we protect Victorians from the flu. Last year’s Budget also included a $50 million boost for Victoria’s biggest hospitals to get flu ready for the winter peak season.

You can’t trust the Liberals when it comes to health. Scott Morrison is not only keeping our kids out in the cold, he’s trying to ram through a dud funding agreement that will short-change our hospitals billions of dollars.

In Victoria, the Liberals cut a billion dollars from health when they were last in Government – and they’ll do it again if they get the chance.