Health’s Director of Communicable Diseases, Dr Vicky Sheppeard, said there are sufficient
supplies of flu vaccine available for people eligible for free state-funded
shots, including for children aged under five.
the flu jab now is critical to reducing the risk of having the potentially
lethal virus, particularly as it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to
provide full protection,” Dr Sheppeard said.
Sheppeard said the latest Influenza
Surveillance Report shows 1843 confirmed flu cases for the week
ending 26 May, higher than the 1330 notifications in the previous week.
have been 43 confirmed deaths from flu so far this year, compared with an
annual total of 40 deaths in 2018 and 559 in 2017. Surveillance data captures
only a proportion of people who die with influenza, and people who die with
influenza often have other underlying illnesses.
urge parents of children under five years of age and those vulnerable to the
virus – like elderly people, pregnant women and those with other illnesses – to
visit their GP as soon as possible for a flu shot,” Dr Sheppeard said.
“Children under nine years of age having the shot for the
first time require two doses, one month apart.
also important that people who are already ill not visit aged care facilities
to avoid exposing vulnerable people to catching flu.”
Vaccination is the best defence against
flu, but to help prevent its transmission, cough and sneeze into your elbow,
clean your hands regularly and stay home when sick.
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.
NSW Government is spending a record $22.75 million on statewide immunisation
programs which will assist with flu prevention this season. This includes $2.6
million for free flu shots to children up to five years of age and a $1.5
million immunisation and influenza awareness campaign.
NSW Government has invested approximately $130 million in the 2018-19 Immunisation
Program budget, including Commonwealth and state vaccines.
NSW Health is encouraging
parents to organise their children’s flu shots as soon as possible, by collaborating
with childcare centres and schools, working closely with Local Health Networks and promoting flu vaccination through targeted radio and digital
The latest Influenza
Surveillance Report is available at: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/Influenza/Publications/2019/weekending-26052019.pdf