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Monday, 26 February 2018
Page: 1961

Mrs WICKS (Robertson) (16:14): I rise to deliver an important update specifically for people over the age of 65 in my electorate on the Central Coast. This year, the coalition government will provide two new flu vaccines to Australians aged over 65. They are free of charge and they've been fast-tracked to ensure that lives are saved and that older Australians will receive greater protection from the flu this winter. I commend the Minister for Health for this important announcement, which is a direct response to last year's horrific flu season. Sadly, more than 90 per cent of the 1,100 flu related deaths in 2017 were people aged over 65 years of age. These flu vaccines are aimed squarely at saving lives to ensure that we do everything we can to prevent this happening again. The new vaccines, Fluad and Fluzone High Dose, were registered in Australia to specifically provide increased protection for people aged 65 years and older. From April this year, both vaccines will be available through the National Immunisation Program.

The latest census figures show that we have more than 30,000 people aged over 65 in the electorate of Robertson, meaning this could help around one in five people. Under the program, the vaccine is also available to pregnant women, most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and those who suffer from chronic conditions. I urge anyone who is eligible to ask their GP, especially before the peak season in June. Summer officially draws to a close this week, so there's no better time than now to ensure that you're protected.