· Tasmanians can’t afford to wait six weeks for health summit
· Urgent action required now
· Free flu vaccination would help ease pressure on Emergency Department
The Liberal Government should immediately adopt Labor’s election policy to roll out free flu vaccinations to all Tasmanians.
Labor Leader, Rebecca White, and Shadow Health Minister, Sarah Lovell, said free vaccinations would help to take pressure off the hospital season heading into winter.
“Currently the flu vaccine is only free for people considered to be at particular risk including children under five and people over 65,” Ms White said.
“However, we know that flu does not discriminate and people of all ages are presenting to hospital with flu symptoms.
“We are aware that there are many families that simply cannot afford to be vaccinated.”
Rolling out a one year trial of free vaccinations for all Tasmanians not currently eligible is estimated to cost about $2 million.
In a press release just last week Michael Ferguson said: “The advice of Public Health experts is overwhelmingly that a flu vaccine is the best form of defence for Tasmanians.”
Ms Lovell said the modest investment would take pressure off the hospital system and ultimately save lives.
“It is deeply concerning that there have already been 448 reported cases of flu this year, compared to 452 for the whole of 2018,” Ms Lovell said.
“We cannot afford to wait at least six weeks for outcomes from the health summit.
“The Government must take immediate steps to address bed block, which doctors warn is causing avoidable deaths in our hospitals.”
Rebecca White MP
Sarah Lovell MLC
Shadow Health Minister