While attention is turned to the COVID-19 vaccine, NSW Health is urging all Australians to mind their health this winter with, not only a COVID-19 vaccination but also a flu shot to prevent severe flu, particularly those in higher-risk groups.
Children under five, pregnant women, Aboriginal people, people aged 65 years and over, those living in aged care facilities and anyone with medical risk conditions such as severe asthma, diabetes and heart disease should all get their free vaccination to protect them from severe flu this winter.
While flu cases to date are significantly lower in NSW and throughout Australia than in previous years – that should not deter people from getting their vaccination. This is theorised to be a result of increased public health awareness and restrictions which have been made to minimise COVID-19 transmission.
Executive Director of Health Protection NSW, Dr Richard Broome said the flu shot is safe and it is vitally important to have the vaccination. “While flu numbers are lower than usual at the moment, most likely due to the public health measures which have been taken to limit COVID-19 transmission, NSW could still experience an atypical flu season – one that begins later in the year or in the warmer months. Getting a flu shot is the best protection against this in the coming months,” Dr Broome said.
“It is also important to remember that when booking your vaccines that you make sure to space your influenza vaccine and COVID-19 vaccines at least 14 days apart.”
People who are not eligible for a free flu vaccine can get it for a fee.