Sunday, June 26, 2022

Flu jab reminder as cases grow

The chilly weather can be the perfect reminder for those who haven’t gotten their influenza shot yet that massive flu season is being predicted.

Hospitals in NSW are already experiencing a surge in flu cases, especially among children.

So far this year there have been 14,812 cases of flu in NSW and 3,349 people presented to emergency departments with influenza-like illness.

Health Minister Brad Hazard said this year could bring a “horror flu season”, which would put additional strain on hospital resources.

“After two years of Covid, our hospitals no longer need the additional challenge of avoidable influenza, when flu shots are readily available at GPs and pharmacies,” he said.

“With almost no risk of flu in the past two years, it is imperative that we all get a flu jab to protect ourselves and the community.”

Chief pediatrician Matt O’Meara says there is a special concern for babies between the ages of six months and five years.

“At least 10 percent of children admitted to hospital will be so ill with the flu that they require intensive care. Parents can reduce the risk of this happening by getting their child vaccinated.”

People who are considered to be at high risk of serious illness from influenza are eligible for the free flu vaccine. This includes children from six months to less than five years of age; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged six months; People with serious health conditions, pregnant women and people 65 years of age and older.

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant urged the community to keep up with the small things that can make a big difference in stopping the spread of the virus this winter.

Following the expansion of the COVID-19 Winter Booster Program, the community is being urged to get the jab to protect themselves from potentially serious respiratory illness.

This comes after the federal government accepted advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (ATAGI), which recommended that all people aged 16 to 64 with specified risk factors receive a second COVID-19 vaccine booster dose. be eligible.

People who are recommended to receive a second booster dose include those with immunocompromising conditions, cancer, specific chronic inflammatory conditions, chronic liver disease, chronic lung disease, and severe chronic kidney disease.

Patients who are eligible for a second booster dose but have recently been infected with COVID-19 should delay their second booster until three months after their infection.

If not life-threatening, people are encouraged to visit Healthdirect.gov.au or call Healthdirect for free on 1800 022 222 for expert advice on what to do next. Healthdirect is a 24-hour telephone health advice line operated by registered nurses. You can also contact your GP for advice and support.

Nation World News Desk
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