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Media Release

5 million Aussies at risk this flu season

        • 28% of Australians won't be getting a flu shot this year
        • There have been over 20,000 confirmed cases of influenza already in 2020
        • Finder urges Aussies to check their eligibility for free vaccinations

28 May 2020, Sydney, Australia – With the start of winter just days away, new research by Finder, Australia's most visited comparison site, shows that millions of Australians could be putting themselves and others at risk this flu season.

A Finder survey of 1,025 respondents revealed that one in four Aussies (28%) – equivalent to 5 million people – won't be getting a flu vaccine this year.

According to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS), 2019 was the biggest year on record for confirmed cases of influenza with 313,356 recorded cases.

Kate Browne, personal finance expert at Finder, said the combination of COVID-19 and flu season could put a strain on Australia's healthcare system as well as Australians' wallets.

"While life might be returning to normal as lockdown restrictions ease, we're not out of the woods just yet. Australians simply can't afford to catch the flu this year.

"The financial cost of catching the flu could mean up to ten days off work and potentially a hospital visit, so a flu vaccination is a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things," Browne said.

There have been over 20,000 confirmed cases of influenza already in 2020 according to data from the NNDSS. However, cases dropped significantly when social distancing measures were put in place in March (286 cases in April 2020 vs 18,690 cases in April 2019).

"Social distancing has aided in a reduced number of influenza cases. Hopefully we remember to maintain the good hygiene practices we've picked up as restrictions ease," Browne said.

A previous Finder survey revealed that the main reason Australians weren't interested in the flu vaccine was because they "didn't believe in it", followed closely by cost.

"If you're worried about the expense, many Australians are eligible for a free vaccination, whether it's through the Government's National Immunisation Program, your work or health fund.

"For example HBF members with a Healthy Living Program policy are covered for flu shots administered at select chemists.

"If you are over 65, pregnant or have certain medical conditions your shot is likely covered, so ask your GP if you can get the flu jab for free," Browne said.

Have you had the 2020 flu vaccine shot?
Yes, I already have had it36%
No, but I'm planning to30%
No and I don't plan to22%
No and I don't plan to due to the Coronavirus6%
I normally don't but I will this year6%

Source: Finder May survey, 2020

How to get the flu vaccine for free

  • Health insurance. Some health funds offer their members a free flu vaccination. For example, those who sign up with Bupa on select policies before June 30th get a free subscription to the TerryWhite Chemmart Health Benefits package, which entitles you to a flu shot. Similarly, HBF members with a Healthy Living Program policy are covered for flu shots administered at select chemists.
  • Workplace. Some companies offer a corporate flu vaccination program, which involves free or subsidised flu shots for employees.
  • National Immunisation Program. A large number of vulnerable Australians are eligible to receive the flu vaccine for free under the National Immunisation Program including those over the age of 65, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, pregnant women and children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years old.

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For further information

Disclaimer

The information in this release is accurate as of the date published, but rates, fees and other product features may have changed. Please see updated product information on finder.com.au's review pages for the current correct values.

About us

Every month 2.2 million unique visitors turn to Finder to save money and time, and to make important life choices. We compare virtually everything from credit cards, phone plans, health insurance, travel deals and much more.

Our free service is 100% independently-owned by two Australians: Fred Schebesta and Frank Restuccia. Since launching in 2006, Finder has helped Aussies find what they need from 1,800+ brands across 100+ categories.

We continue to expand and launch around the globe, and now operate in the United States and the United Kingdom. For further information visit www.finder.com.au.

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