03 August 2018

NSW Health is reminding the community to have their flu shot as case numbers rise across the state.

NSW Health’s latest Influenza Surveillance Weekly Report showed 365 confirmed flu cases for the week ending 29 July, higher than the 246 cases in the previous week but still much lower than the 4,690 notifications in the same week in 2017.

Dr Vicky Sheppeard, Director Communicable Diseases NSW Health, said flu cases are rising across the state so those yet to have their flu shot should do so before the flu season officially starts.

“It’s not too late to vaccinate and we’re encouraging everyone, particularly pregnant women and the parents of young children, to arrange the flu shot before we hit the flu season,” Dr Sheppeard said.

“Vaccination is the best protection against flu but you can help prevent it spreading by coughing and sneezing into your elbow, cleaning your hands and staying 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.

Flu shots are also free under, the National Immunisation Program, for pregnant women, people over 65 years of age, Aboriginal people and those with medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart problems.

Local Health Districts across NSW have prepared for this year’s flu season, with winter plans in place for our hospitals, including procedures for allocating additional resources during periods of high demand, and promoting good hygiene practices amongst staff and visitors. Around 145,000 doses of influenza vaccine have been provided for health district staff, around 30 per cent more than in 2017.

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.

Reports can be viewed at Influenza Surveillance Weekly Reports.