Free flu vaccines available for the most vulnerable
NSW Health’s 2019 Winter Flu campaign aims to combat complacency among the public about flu vaccinations and respiratory hygiene.
The campaign began on 1 May and will continue till 31 August 2019.
The campaign encourages flu immunisation for people who are at greatest risk of complications and hospitalisation from flu. They can access free flu vaccines via the National Immunisation Program (NIP) or government programs.
The groups who are eligible for these programs are:
- All Aboriginal people from six months of age
- Culturally and linguistically diverse children six months to less than five years
- Other children six months to less than five years
- People aged 65 years and older.
The flu vaccination will also be available free of charge to all pregnant women residing in NSW.
NSW Health says there are other people at increased risk of severe flu because of medical conditions including those with:
- Chronic respiratory illnesses, such as COPD and severe asthma
- Immune disorders
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Heart disease
Each year up to one in five people in NSW will get seasonal flu, which can cause severe illness and life-threatening complications such as pneumonia and bronchitis, often requiring hospitalisation.
In 2017 there were over 650 deaths in NSW from flu-related illness. In 2018 there were significantly less, with 39 deaths reported in NSW.