Free flu vaccines will now be available at local General Practitioner clinics, community health centres and chemists across the Peninsula as part of the National Immunisation Program.
Those eligible for the vaccine include children aged between six months and less than five years old, all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, pregnant women, people with certain medical conditions and everyone aged 65 years and over.
Johnathan Dickason, a pharmacist at Blooms Chemist Umina Beach, said the clinic has seen a decrease in people getting the flu vaccine this year.
“This year it has been slow in comparison to last year which is quite concerning,” Dickason said.
“I don’t think people understand how prevalent the flu is, how many people it effects and how many hospitalisations occur as a result of influenza and of course the permanent flow on health effects from contracting the flu, which is why it is so important to get vaccinated.
“Having the flu shot also really builds up the herd immunity and minimises influenza in the community.”
“The younger generation tend to not be engaging in the flu vaccine, believing that they won’t be impacted but that is not necessarily the case.
“COVID and influenza are quite different, and influenza can severely impact our elderly and young kids and causes huge disruptions in the workplace which is why people of all ages need to get their vaccine.”
The flu vaccine for those who are not eligible under the Program costs approximately $20.
Young local, Jodi Lockie, said she received her vaccine this week.
“I got the flu vaccine to keep protecting our older and vulnerable community members and to make sure I don’t potentially get COVID and the flu at the same time,” Lockie said.
“I first started getting the flu vaccine because a friend who works at the hospital kept telling me to get the kids done because you don’t realise how many people get sick and are in hospital as a result of the flu.”
In an effort to beat the peak of the flu season, Member for Gosford, Liesl Tesch, is encouraging the community to get their flu vaccines early.
“This year is just as important as every other year when it comes to getting your flu vaccine,” Tesch said.
“I’ve already got mine and I’d love to see eligible members of the community out getting theirs too so we can protect everyone from the flu, especially here on the Coast where we have lot of vulnerable pensioners.”
Media release, May 3
Member for Gosford, Liesl Tesch