Flu cases spike, Premier urges residents to get the shot

Premier Chris Minns. Photo: Melinda Jane.
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People across NSW are being urged to protect themselves against serious illness by booking in for their influenza vaccine ahead of the 2024 flu season.

The latest respiratory surveillance report shows more than 4,700 people in NSW were diagnosed with influenza in the last four weeks, a 16 per cent increase compared with the previous year.

NSW hospitals received 480 influenza-like illness admissions between the January 6 and April 14 2024. This is compared with 284 during the same period in 2023.

The NSW Government is encouraging people to book in for the influenza vaccine through a local GP or pharmacist ahead of winter.

People who are considered to be at higher risk of severe illness from influenza are eligible for a free flu vaccine. Priority groups include:

• Children aged 6 months to under five years
• People aged 65 and over
• Aboriginal people from 6 months of age
• Pregnant women
• Those with serious health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, immune disorders, obesity, severe asthma, kidney, heart, lung or liver disease.

“Influenza is highly contagious, and it can be life-threatening, especially for vulnerable groups such as young children, pregnant women, older adults and people who have chronic medical conditions,” said Premier Chris Minns.

“Getting the flu jab is the best way to protect yourself and the wider community.”

Health Minister Ryan Park said the flu season was expected to spike further soon.

“Influenza has started to increase in some parts of Australia, and it’s expected to start to increase across NSW soon, so it is very important you get vaccinated to protect yourself and others as you don’t want to end up in hospital or put vulnerable community members at risk,” he said.

“Everyone six months and older is recommended to get a flu vaccine and these are available through GPs for any age group, as well as through pharmacies for everyone aged five years and over.”

NSW Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant.

NSW Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant, said it was important not to have a repeat of last year’s horror flu season.

“Last year, we saw an increase in ED presentations among young children with some being admitted to intensive care with life-threatening complications from the flu. We don’t want to see a repeat this year, so we are reminding families to book their children aged under 5 years in for their free flu vaccine now,” she said.

“It is a very quick and easy process to book in with your local doctor or pharmacist who can also administer your COVID-19 vaccine at the same time if recommended. This simple act can help you and your family stay healthy this winter.”


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