Immunisation Program seeks to arrest decline in flu shots ahead of winter

Image Wikicommons - Vaccination Grippe (5116249876)

Member for Gosford Liesl Tesch is encouraging residents to have their flu shots, with free vaccines now available to eligible recipients through GPs, community health clinics and chemists as part of the National Immunisation Program.

Those eligible for the vaccine include children aged between six months and five, all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, pregnant women, those who experience certain medical conditions and everyone aged 65 years and over.

In an effort to beat the peak of the flu season, Tesch said it was important to get flu vaccines early.

“This year is just as important as every other year when it comes to getting your flu vaccine,” she said.

“I’ve already had 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.”

Blooms Chemist, Umina Beach, pharmacist Johnathan Dickason says the pharmacy 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,” he said.

“I don’t think people understand how prevalent the flu is, how many people it affects 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 flu vaccine for those who are not eligible under the National Immunisation Program costs around $20.

“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 cause huge disruptions in the work place which is why people of all ages need to get their vaccine.”

Young Central Coast woman, Jodi Lockie, was lone of the first to line up for the jab.

“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,” she 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 hospitals a result of the flu.”

Media release, May 3
Member for Gosford, Liesl Tesch