Get your flu shot and COVID booster as soon as possible

Flu shot 1

With influenza and COVID-19 circulating in the local community, COORDINARE and the Local Health Districts are urging people to get their flu shot and COVID booster as soon as possible to reduce the risk of becoming sick this winter.

COORDINARE – South Eastern NSW PHN, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD) and Southern NSW Local Health District (SNSWLHD) are encouraging everyone in South Eastern NSW to get the free flu shot, as well as their COVID booster, and be prepared this winter!

Head of Infectious Diseases for ISLHD, Professor Spiros Miyakis, said the flu season has begun, with influenza cases rising in our community.

“With influenza and COVID-19 now circulating in our community, we urge people to get their flu shot and COVID booster as soon as possible to reduce the risk of having both viruses at the same time. A fourth COVID booster is recommended for people aged 65 and over and people aged 16 to 64 who have a medical condition or disability,” said Professor Miyakis.

“The flu vaccine takes about two weeks to boost your immune system and will protect you for a minimum of three to four months. If you are vaccinated now, you will be covered for the peak flu period from around June to September,” said Professor Miyakis.

According to Dianne Kitcher, CEO of COORDINARE, the recent announcement to make flu vaccines available free to everyone aged six months and older until 30 June 2022 has generated increased demand for the vaccines.

“There could be vaccine supply delays for some practices over the next couple of weeks as everyone adjusts to the change in free flu vaccine eligibility. We do urge people to be patient and understanding if they are impacted in any way,” she said.

“Many practices across the region are delivering flu vaccinations in a manner similar to COVID vaccination clinics. Some practices are administering vaccines via pop-up clinics in order to reduce foot traffic through the medical centre’s main doors and many have online booking systems for flu vaccinations,” said Ms Kitcher.

People are encouraged to contact their usual general practice, Aboriginal Medical Service, community health centre or pharmacy to make an appointment, it is not recommended for people to arrive unscheduled for a vaccination.

Those who are worried about possible flu symptoms should seek advice from their doctor or call healthdirect Australia on 1800 022 222 to talk to a registered nurse, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Those who are concerned about possible COVID-19 symptoms should seek advice from their doctor or call the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Don’t forget to wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water, sneeze into a tissue or your elbow, and stay at home when you are sick to help prevent the spread of both flu and COVID-19,” said Ms Kitcher.

To find out more please visit the NSW Health website.