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Flu vaccination drive ‘comes at a key time’


Matt Woodley


24/04/2023 3:24:39 PM

The RACGP has said it is working closely with the WA Government to ensure next month’s expanded rollout of influenza vaccines runs smoothly.

Woman receiving flu vaccination
WA has some of the lowest influenza vaccination rates in the country.

All Western Australians will be able to access subsidised influenza vaccination next month, with the State Government set to expand eligibility as a way of increasing uptake ahead of winter.
 
The expanded program is due to run until at least the end of May and will allow people not normally eligible for influenza vaccination under the National Immunisation Program (NIP) – including most patients aged 12–64 – to visit their GP for a government-subsidised vaccine.
 
RACGP WA Chair Dr Ramya Raman has welcomed the move, saying it comes at ‘a key time’.
 
‘It’s hard to predict what sort of flu season we will have but confirmed cases have already passed 27,000 across Australia with over 1990 in WA,’ she said.
 
‘The RACGP worked closely with the WA Government to ensure the expanded flu program included extra support for general practices to get more jabs in arms.
 
‘This includes grants to help practices run flu clinics, which often need extra staff and longer hours, as well as reimbursement for practices to purchase the 2023 influenza vaccine for people aged 12–64.
 
‘This will make a real difference for patients across WA, and help GPs get on with the job we love – making sure our patients can get the care they need, including important vaccinations.’
According to the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS), WA currently has the lowest influenza vaccination rates in every age cohort across the country, except for 5–15 years and 65 and older, where it is ranked second-last ahead of the Northern Territory. 

 


Under the expanded program, practices will get a $15 reimbursement for each privately purchased, non-NIP flu vaccination administered to people aged 12–64 years to recognise the cost of purchasing, storing and delivering the doses and possible wastage. 

Practices will need to provide evidence of purchasing 2023 flu vaccines, such as invoices, as well as evidence that the vaccines were administered, including:

  • age of recipient
  • brand of vaccine
  • date of vaccine administration
  • Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) provider number (either individual or practice provider number is acceptable).

Participating practices may also be eligible for a $2000 grant to help cover extra staffing and communications costs.
 
To qualify, metropolitan practices must prove that they have provided at least 50 influenza vaccinations during May, while practices in regional areas will need to have administered 20.
 
They will also need to have undertaken at least two additional activities during May to support and promote the program, such as:

  • offering extra clinic hours
  • rostering additional staff and/or immunisers
  • offering online appointment bookings
  • sending reminders (via SMS, phone or email) to patients to book their influenza vaccination
  • promotion of the program via website, social media, or promotional materials displayed at clinic
  • offering opportunistic vaccination.
Registration and reimbursement information
Most WA general practices will receive a registration email through a Onelink account by 1 May, while those without a Onelink account can email influenza.reimbursement@health.wa.gov.au to request a link.

All practices wishing to be reimbursed need to register by 5.00 pm 31 May.

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