Parents are reminded to ensure children being immunised against influenza for the first time have the recommended two flu shots to maximise their protection this winter.
Dr Jeremy McAnulty, Director Health Protection, NSW Health said while it might be inconvenient for parents, two jabs are better than one to get the full benefits of vaccination.
“Young children under the age of five years are particularly vulnerable to influenza and to ensure those having the flu vaccine for the first time have the strongest protection possible, two doses of vaccine one month apart are needed,” Dr McAnulty said.
“Since April 1, three large hospitals have reported admitting six children with influenza.
“We’re reminding parents it is not too late to arrange flu shots for their kids and if they do so, it could prevent hospitalisation or even save your child’s life.”
The latest Influenza Surveillance Weekly Report shows flu case numbers remain low in NSW, with just 80 confirmed flu cases for the week ending 3 June, compared to 273 this time last year.
The NSW Government is spending a record $22.75 million on state-wide immunisation programs in 2017-18. This includes $3.5 million for free flu shots to children up to five years of age and a $1.75 million immunisation and influenza prevention campaign.
“Our supply of vaccines for children under five years is available state-wide and we encourage parents to take up this offer for a free vaccine,” Dr McAnulty said.
"For older people, supply of Commonwealth flu vaccines under the National Immunisation Program remains tight, so call ahead to your GP to make sure they have the right vaccine for you before going in for your flu shot.”
NSW Health continues to closely monitor flu case numbers and will issue an Influenza Surveillance Weekly Report every Friday to keep the community up to date on influenza activity.
The following good hygiene habits help prevent the spread of influenza and other infections:
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow
- Clean your hands regularly
- Stay home when sick.
The Influenza Surveillance Weekly Report can be viewed on the NSW Health website.