This winter, health professionals are worried that we could see a huge increase in the number of flu and other respiratory illnesses in addition to COVID-19 cases.
Wentworth Healthcare, provider of the Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network (NBMPHN), is urging the community to get vaccinated against the flu and to ensure that their COVID-19 vaccinations are up-to-date, by getting their booster or winter dose before it’s too late.
Lizz Reay, CEO of Wentworth Healthcare, said: “Over the last two winters international and state borders have been mostly closed, and last winter we were in lockdown. We also had mask mandates and social distancing, which meant that we didn’t see the usual number of flu cases.”
“Now that we are getting back to our normal way of life, it’s important to protect yourself and your family. We are urging people to get the flu vaccine as soon possible and to ensure that their COVID-19 vaccinations are up-to-date. This means getting your kids over five years vaccinated for COVID-19, getting a COVID-19 booster or getting a COVID-19 winter dose if you are eligible,” she added.
The additional COVID-19 winter dose vaccine, can be given from four months or longer after an eligible person has received their first booster dose, or from four months after a confirmed COVID-19 infection if this occurred since the person’s first COVID-19 booster dose.
“I also encourage people 70 years and over, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years and older, to talk to their GP about the free pneumococcal vaccine this winter,” Ms Reay said.
Free flu vaccines are available to certain eligible people under the National Immunisation Program. Flu and COVID-19 vaccines are available from GPs, pharmacies, community health clinics, Aboriginal Medical Services, and other vaccination providers in the area.
“I’d like to say to everyone, be your own health hero and protect yourself by getting vaccinated,” Ms Reay said.
For more information, including eligibility criteria, visit www.nbmphn.com.au/healthhero.