The 2020 flu vaccine is expected to be available in NSW from mid-April. It will be specifically tailored to the strains that are expected to pose the greatest risk.
The vaccine will help reduce the severity and spread of flu, which can lower a person’s immunity and make them susceptible to other illnesses. It won’t protect against novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Flu shots are free for:
- people aged 65 years and over
- pregnant women
- children under five years old
- Aboriginal people
- medically at-risk groups.
In 2019, nearly 2.5 million doses of government-funded flu shots were available across NSW. In 2020, nearly 2.6 million doses will be available.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said giving families more options to protect their children against flu is sensible, with the likely convergence of a COVID-19 pandemic with winter flu.
“Last year was the longest flu season on record and in 2017 more than 650 people in NSW died from flu-related conditions, and now we have COVID-19,” Mr Hazzard said.
“By allowing pharmacists to administer privately purchased flu vaccines to people aged 10 years and over, families now have more choice when booking-in for a flu jab”.
NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said each year in NSW, there are hundreds of flu-related deaths and many of those who die were infected by the people they know and love who weren’t vaccinated.
“Not only do you risk your own life by not getting vaccinated against flu but you can potentially spread the infection to others more vulnerable, like children and the elderly,” Dr Chant said.