NSW Health Director of Communicable Disease, Dr Vicky Sheppeard, says 115
children have been admitted to Children’s Hospital Westmead with flu this year,
including two needing critical care, and encouraged parents to vaccinate their
children as soon as possible.
“With flu cases still on the rise, we’re encouraging everyone, particularly pregnant women and parents of
young children, to get their flu shots immediately,” Dr Sheppeard said.
The latest weekly Influenza
Surveillance Report shows 3796 flu
cases for the week ending 16 June, up from 3288 notifications the previous week
and one additional death of a person over 65 years, bringing the annual total
to 50 confirmed deaths.
Dr Sheppeard said 2.37 million doses of Government-funded flu vaccines
have been distributed across NSW, including over 176,000 doses for children 6
months to 3 years, and 1.17 million doses for people 65 years and over.
“There has been strong demand, but there are sufficient supplies of free
Government-funded vaccines available for eligible people.
“So we are again encouraging parents and carers of children from 6 months
up to five years old to take advantage of the free flu vaccine.
“If you are unwell with the flu, stay at home and minimise contact with
other people if possible, especially those who are particularly vulnerable,
such as young children and the elderly. Avoid visiting aged care facilities and
child care centres until you have recovered,” Dr Sheppeard said.
The 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
The NSW Government has invested about $130 million in the 2018-19
Immunisation Program budget, including Commonwealth and state vaccines.
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.