Free flu jabs a sensible step

May 31, 2022

The Victorian Healthcare Association commends the Victorian Government for making flu vaccinations free for everyone this winter.

Minister for Health, Martin Foley MP, today announced a $33 million package to make influenza vaccinations free for all Victorians via pharmacies and GP clinics.

‘Victoria officially enters winter tomorrow, but we are already seeing the impacts of influenza and COVID cases converging in our hospitals,’ VHA CEO Tom Symondson said.

‘The health system is operating under incredible pressure. We need to do everything we can to keep ourselves healthy and out of hospital.’

‘Free flu vaccinations are a sensible step to help protect Victorians – and the Victorian health system – this winter.’

As well as getting vaccinated for influenza, Victorians can protect themselves by continuing to practice COVIDsafe behaviours and by being up to date with their COVID-19 vaccine.

The flu vaccine is already free via the National Immunisation Program for vulnerable groups, including children under five years, people over 65 years, pregnant women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and people with increased risk medical conditions.

GPs and community pharmacies will be reimbursed for administering flu vaccines to Victorians who are not usually eligible for free flu shots, to ensure providers can use vaccines they have already purchased.

Vaccination requirements for healthcare workers

Directions from the Secretary of the Department of Health require public health and aged care workers to be vaccinated for influenza this winter.

Healthcare workers in hospitals, ambulance services, public sector residential aged care services, and other public health services must be vaccinated for influenza by 15 August 2022.

Under the directions, currently employed workers who aren’t vaccinated by the 15 August deadline may face work restrictions or be redeployed to other parts of the health service.

More information and the Secretary’s Directions are available on the Department of Health website.