WA Premier Mark McGowan has urged West Australians to get a free flu jab this month ahead of an anticipated “severe” winter season, also revealing a further six people had died with COVID.
Mr McGowan rolled up his sleeve once again on Friday, this time at Pharmacy 777 in Belmont, to encourage others to get vaccinated against the flu.
It was vital to relieve pressure on the health system, he said, noting about 100 people died from flu during the 2018-19 season.
“I encourage everyone across Western Australia to take advantage of the offer the State Government has put on for free flu vaccinations all over Western Australia,” the Premier told reporters.
“Throughout the month of June, you’ll have the opportunity to get your free flu vaccination at participating pharmacies, participating GPs and our state vaccination clinics.
“Each and every year over the flu season, it puts enormous pressure on our hospitals. Lots of people can get very ill and end up in emergency departments.
“Let’s just do the right thing by each other and get ourselves vaccinated.”
While eligible patients for the National Immunisation Program are able to get free flu jabs already, the State Government’s no-cost program this month will save others about $20.
Before it began on June 1, the number of flu cases in WA had surged from between one and three cases in the first three weeks of April to 97 last week.
About 22 per cent of the State’s eligible population is currently inoculated against the virus.
Mr McGowan said closed borders over the past two years had reduced WA’s flu numbers but he anticipated they would rise with international and domestic travel.
When asked if the State was considering tougher measures to reduce the flu, given lessons learnt from the pandemic, Mr McGowan said nothing was on the table at this stage.
“The COVID experience has obviously been something that makes us very aware about the transmissibility of illnesses and the potential for them to cause problems across the community.
“Obviously, we’re far more aware of our illnesses now than perhaps we were before.
“All I would say is if you’re sick, stay home. Don’t spread illnesses in your workplace or social opportunities.
“Just do the right thing by yourself, your community and your family.”
Overnight, 7092 new cases of COVID were recorded, down from 8292 on Thursday.
Of those, 275 are in hospital, with nine in intensive care.
The latest deaths — two women and two men in their 80s, and two women in their 90s — bring the State’s toll to 269.