District urging communities to get vaccinated against flu


Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) is urging everyone across the region to book in for a flu vaccine with their GP or pharmacist as the winter months continue, following a recent rise in influenza rates and emergency department presentations

Bandage is applied to woman's arm after vaccination

In the week to 1 July, there was 155 cases of influenza notified across the District and 38 emergency department presentations with influenza-like illnesses. The latest data shows a marked increase of 45 per cent and 19 per cent respectively, compared with the previous week.

Belinda Tracy, WNSWLHD Acting Manager Immunisation and Communicable Disease, said vaccination is particularly vital for children and teenagers, and those at higher risk of severe illness from influenza.

“Any rise in influenza rates or emergency department presentations is reason to stay vigilant, particularly in winter when we already tend to get sick more often,” Ms Tracy said.

“The easiest and best way to keep ourselves healthy through the winter months is to get an influenza vaccination. Vaccination will also reduce the risk of being hospitalised, which in turn help to protect our health services and healthcare workers.

“This is particularly important for children aged 16 and under, and those at higher risk of severe illness from influenza. In line with state-wide trends, children 16 and under and people 65 and over have accounted for the majority of people hospitalised due to influenza in our District this year.

“For parents with children and teenagers, there’s no better time to book them in for a flu vaccine than now, during the school holidays and before they head back to school. It’s also important to remember those at higher risk of severe illness are eligible for a free vaccine.”

Those considered to be at higher risk of severe illness from influenza are eligible for a free flu vaccine and include:

  • children aged six months to under five years
  • people aged 65 and over
  • Aboriginal people from six 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.

We can all take steps to help protect ourselves and our loved ones from COVID-19 and flu, including:

  • stay up to date with your recommended flu and COVID-19 vaccinations
  • stay home if you have cold or flu symptoms
  • wash or sanitise your hands often
  • wear a mask in crowded, indoor places
  • get together outdoors or in large, well-ventilated spaces with open doors and windows
  • talk with your doctor now if you are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 or influenza to make a plan about what to do if you get sick, including what test to take, and discussing if you are eligible for antiviral medicines
  • don’t visit people who are at higher risk of severe illness if you have cold or flu symptoms or have tested positive to COVID-19 or influenza
  • take a rapid antigen test to test for COVID-19 especially before visiting vulnerable loved ones.

More information on Influenza can be found on NSW Government – Influenza (flu).

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