29 June 2018

NSW Health is urging parents to take advantage of plentiful supplies of the NSW Government’s free flu vaccine for under-fives as flu case numbers start to climb.

Dr Vicky Sheppeard, Director Communicable Diseases, NSW Health, said the latest Influenza Surveillance Weekly Report shows 128 confirmed flu cases in the week ending 24 June, an increase of 54 on the previous week.

“We have recorded almost 600 fewer flu cases than at this time last year, but there are signs that flu case numbers are starting to climb,” Dr Sheppeard said.

“We’re encouraging parents yet to vaccinate their under-fives to take up the offer of the free vaccine under the NSW Government’s $3.5 million program, as children in this age group are particularly susceptible to influenza.

“By immunising younger children, those more vulnerable in the community will also be protected, including babies too young to receive a flu vaccine.

“Our supply of vaccines for children under five years is available across the state.”

To date, NSW Health has distributed over 2.2 million doses of flu vaccine to GPs and other providers, about fifty per cent more than the total distributed in 2017.

“We still have free flu vaccines available for people at high risk in all age groups including children and people aged 65 years and over,” Dr Sheppeard said.

“If you haven’t had your flu shot call ahead to your GP to check they have the right vaccine for your age group in stock or give them time to order more vaccines.”

The following good hygiene habits help prevent the spread of influenza and other infections:

  • cough and sneeze into your elbow
  • clean your hands regularly
  • stay home when sick.

The NSW Government is spending a record $22.75 million on state-wide immunisation programs which will assist with flu prevention this season. This includes $3.5 million for free flu shots to children up to five years of age and a $1.75 million immunisation and influenza prevention campaign.

NSW Health is closely monitoring flu case numbers and issuing an Influenza Surveillance Weekly Report every Friday to keep the community up to date on influenza activity.

The Influenza Surveillance Weekly Report can be viewed at Influenza Surveillance Report. ​