ADJOURNMENT - Child Influenza Vaccination (20.3.2019)

Written on the 20 March 2019

ADJOURNMENT

20 March 2019

COUNCIL


Ms CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan)  

My adjournment matter this evening is to the Minister for Health, so I am very pleased that she is at the table this evening, because she might be able to dispatch with my request or at least speak to the request in any event.

It relates to flu vaccinations. Of course we have seen some terrible flu outbreaks this summer. In fact I note that in Victoria alone there have been 2800 confirmed cases of influenza this year, which is more than double the 1300 reported at the same time last year. Sadly, amongst those statistics is the very terrible statistic of a young child who died from the outbreak. The deputy chief health officer said that it was likely there have been other deaths this year as well. It is a serious issue.

I note that Ms Wooldridge is also in the chamber, and I want to congratulate her on her work when she was shadow Minister for Health in advocating for children under five to receive free flu vaccinations. It was an issue that was very close to her heart, I know. She argued the point for some time and developed policy in relation to having ongoing funding and protection of those young children. She was really able to point out the shortfalls of the Andrews government: they botched the ordering of vaccinations and they underestimated the amountsthey ordered vaccines for less than 30 per cent of kids. When that was pushed back on in terms of blaming others and the federal government, in actual fact it was true that the Victorian government had not even put in any applications for kids under five to be on the national immunisation program.

There are many concerns in relation to the previous government's administration of this very critical and important area. It is a big issue for those vulnerable Victoriansthe elderly, the pregnant, those who have got chronic disease, those who have got cancer and of course young children.

The action I seek, Minister, is that you provide the ongoing funding for the flu vaccination programs for children under five and not continue the haphazard approach that you previously had. I note that you are nodding your head, that you have got them coming out in April. We have had them

Ms Mikakos: It's bizarre.

Ms CROZIER: It is not bizarre. It is actually really serious. A child died.

Ms Mikakos interjected.

Ms CROZIER: The free flu vaccinations are coming in in April. I am asking that you provide for ongoing funding, that you not take the haphazard approach that you have taken in the past and that you ensure the protection of these children is taken into consideration.


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