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Advertising flu shots

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Immunisation providers offering private vaccination services should also ensure that advertisements include consumer advice to the effect that flu vaccines are free to those persons from high risk groups identified in the National Immunisation Program. Groups eligible for free vaccines are…

  • People aged 65 years and over;
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 0 to 5 years;
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are aged 10 years and over;
  • Pregnant women; and
  • People aged six months and over with medical conditions such as severe asthma, lung or heart disease, low immunity or diabetes that can lead to complications from influenza.

Those providers should also be aware that any further descriptors used in advertising their ‘vaccination service’, such as those which might enable consumers to identify the vaccine manufacturers, is likely to breach therapeutic goods advertising legislation for which there are penalties.

Advertisers should also include a statement that people from a high risk group should seek advice from the medical practitioner.

When advertising vaccination services, avoid using

  • statements or representations that harmful effects will occur from not receiving the vaccine;
  • references to any misleading therapeutic benefit of a vaccine (for example, a use that is not a TGA-approved indication for the vaccine);
  • an indication that the vaccine administered as part of the service is superior to other vaccines;
  • portrayals of the vaccine or service in a way that trivialises or conflicts with public health policies, or misleads consumers in any other way;
  • price comparisons;
  • incentives to encourage the consumer to obtain the service or vaccine; or
  • any other claim that promotes the use or supply of the vaccine.

Use of any of the above makes advertising of the service to be more likely considered advertising of the vaccine itself and subject to therapeutic goods legislation.

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