26 September 2023

Calls for flu shots as cases starting to fly

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People across the State are being urged to get their flu shot as soon as possible with influenza cases more than doubling in recent weeks.

Leading the call, Minister for Health, Brad Hazzard said the flu was circulating widely in the community for the first time in two years, coinciding with ongoing high levels of transmission of COVID-19.

“It is crucial everyone gets vaccinated against flu to not only protect themselves, but their colleagues and loved ones against serious illness or worse,” Mr Hazzard said.

“Whilst we know there is vaccination fatigue, I urge the more vulnerable members of our community to book in for a flu jab with their GP or pharmacist as soon as possible,” he said.

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said 1,024 new influenza cases were recorded in the week ending 30 April, compared to 478 cases in the week prior.

“Alongside the increase in flu cases, we are seeing more people with flu presenting to and being admitted to hospital, including among young children,” Dr Chant said.

“As we have been advising for some time now, with international borders open and increased social mixing, people are at higher risk of flu than during the past two years, when COVID-19 public health measures meant we saw very little flu in NSW,” she said.

“This can be very serious especially for young children who have had little to no exposure to flu over the last two years.”

Dr Chant strongly encouraged parents of children aged between six months and five years old to get their kids vaccinated without delay.

Minister for Seniors, Mark Coure joined the call, encouraging people aged 65 and over to book in for their free flu shot at pharmacies and GP practices.

“Getting the flu vaccine reduces your risk of getting the flu by up to 60 per cent and most importantly it provides vital protection against severe illness and death,” Mr Coure said.

Dr Chant said people who were considered to be at higher risk of severe illness from flu were eligible for a free flu vaccine, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over six months of age; children from six months to under five years of age; those with serious health conditions; pregnant women; and people aged 65 and older.

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