Pregnant women, young children and the elderly will be a major focus of this year’s Winter Flu Campaign, officially launched today.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said free vaccines were available for those most vulnerable, including pregnant women, those over 65 years old, and anyone with medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease.
“More than one million flu vaccines have now been delivered across the State with more to come, so now is the best time for you to get vaccinated,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“The vaccine is very safe and cannot give you the flu. Best of all, it is free for those most vulnerable and offers them the best protection.” Ms Berejiklian and Health Minister Brad Hazzard launched the campaign at Blacktown Hospital’s antenatal clinic, where expectant mums were getting their flu shots to protect themselves and their babies.
“Getting a free flu shot is the best protection for expectant mums and will help protect newborns in their first few months of life. It also the best protection for young children,” Mr Hazzard said.
Hospital admission rates for influenza are highest in young children, with recent national figures showing about 100 per 100,000 in those aged six to 23 months. There have been more than 9,600 confirmed influenza cases in NSW already this year across all age groups.
The NSW Government has invested about $130 million in the 2018-19 Immunisation Program budget, including Commonwealth and state vaccines. Free flu vaccines for children aged from six months to under five years of age are available under the NSW Government’s $2.6 million program.
Experts recommend sneezing into your elbow, washing your hands regularly and staying home when sick to reduce the spread of flu.
“Last year, we avoided a repeat of the bad 2017 flu season, but we cannot be complacent so please, go get your flu jab,” Mr Hazzard said.