Greens call for free flu jabs in SA

Tim DorninAAP
Greens MP Robert Simms says it's vital SA does everything to curb the spread of flu this winter.
Camera IconGreens MP Robert Simms says it's vital SA does everything to curb the spread of flu this winter. Credit: AAP

The Greens have called on the South Australian government to make the flu vaccine free for everyone amid a surge in cases.

Greens upper house MP Robert Simms says SA should follow Queensland's lead to help limit the spread of influenza over winter.

"It seems the flu season is back with a vengeance. Numbers are surging and it's vital SA does everything we can to curb the spread," Mr Simms said.

"Given the huge health and economic implications of a spread of the flu, it makes sense to follow Queensland's example.

"While many workplaces make the vaccine available and it is free for some vulnerable groups, we can't risk South Australians falling through the cracks."

SA Health said there had been 727 flu notifications between January 1 and May 14 this year, compared with 12 cases for the same period last year.

Health Minister Chris Picton said the government would look at what had been introduced in Queensland but did not immediately commit to providing free vaccines to everyone.

He said they were already free for those aged over 65 or under five and for those with chronic health issues.

The minister said the government had also moved to make vaccines more readily available through more than 280 pharmacies.

"We are looking at what happened in Queensland yesterday and seeking advice from them," Mr Picton said.

"But really we're encouraging everyone to come forward for their flu vaccine as well as their COVID vaccine to make sure they're protected this winter.

"We're taking steps to increase the availability and we're looking at how we can further do that into the future."

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