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PHNs to contact aged care facilities about flu jabs

The government has asked Primary Health Networks (PHN) across Australia to help residential aged care providers dole out flu vaccinations.  

Minister for Aged Care Richard Colbeck announced that PHNs will get in contact with providers to undertake a needs assessment and coordinate influenza vaccination programs for those services with an identified need.

Colbeck said COVID-19 has made vaccines for staff and residents critical for this year’s flu season.

“This health emergency is unprecedented and as we edge closer to winter we want to make sure staff and residents have the protection of the flu vaccination,” he said.

PHNs help might include sourcing vaccine supply and supplying qualified vaccine administrators.

In a typical year, residential aged care providers are required to offer free flu jabs to staff and volunteers, and keep records of their vaccinations.

From 1 May this year, anyone visiting or working in an aged care facility must have their flu shot, the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee said.

People and bodies corporate who fail to comply with instructions issued by their state and territories – with a few exceptions – could face fines.

Yesterday, Minister for Health Greg Hunt announced there will be an additional three million doses of seasonal influenza vaccines for 2020.

Hunt also said nearly 100 per cent of Australians aged 65 and over will be able to access vaccines for free through the National Immunisation Program, with 8.6 million vaccines secured, including four million doses of Fluad Quad, which is recommended for that age group.

Since 1 March 2020 over 2.1 million flu vaccines have been administered and recorded in the Australian Immunisation Register, compared to 624,000 at the same time in 2019 and 235,000 in 2018.

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