South Eastern NSW PHN and the Southern NSW Local Health District are encouraging everyone in South Eastern NSW to get the flu shot.
"The 2020 flu season is not far away, all people - and especially those in vulnerable groups or age brackets - should arrange vaccination against seasonal influenza as soon as possible," Tracey Oakman, director of Public Health, Southern NSW Local Health District's Public Health Unit, said.
"Whilst flu vaccination does not prevent against COVID-19, a flu vaccination is critical to protecting the general health of Australians from influenza.
"This year we're encouraging people to get vaccinated as soon as possible. This will reduce the risk of a very dangerous double-up of flu and COVID-19, with both diseases affecting the respiratory system.
"People should speak to their doctor, pharmacist or aged care provider to arrange a flu vaccination over the coming weeks."
NSW Health recommends everyone aged six months and over should be vaccinated against influenza this year, and every year, to protect themselves and others in the community.
"Current influenza activity was high for this time of year, with more than 2,650 cases of influenza A and B across NSW in February," Miss Oakman said.
"The vaccine takes about two weeks to boost your immune system and will protect you for three to four months."
Free flu vaccines are available under the National Immunisation Program for people at greatest risk of complications. This includes:
- All children aged between six months and five years
- Pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy
- All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged six months and older
- People aged 65 years and older
- People aged six months and older with chronic or underlying health issues, and comprised immune systems.
CEO South Eastern NSW PHN Dianne Kitcher said many practices across the region are delivering flu vaccinations via pop-up clinics in a bid to minimise the risks associated with COVID-19.
"Some practices are extending their opening hours or providing vaccinations via drive- through or pop-up clinics in order to reduce foot traffic through the medical centres," Ms Kitcher said.
To make an appointment, people should contact their usual general practice, Aboriginal Medical Service, community health centre or pharmacy. It's not recommended for people to arrive unscheduled for a vaccination.
"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," Miss Kitcher said.
For more information visit NSW Health website. There are two 24/7 helplines: National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080 Healthdirect Australia on 1800 022 222.