Government-funded influenza vaccines will start to become available from mid-April 2019.
Annual seasonal influenza vaccination is recommended for any person aged 6 months and over who wishes to reduce the likelihood of becoming ill with influenza.
NSW has unusually high influenza activity over the summer and it has remained high in March and April with more that 6500 cases reported so far this year. Since January 16 flu outbreaks in aged care facilities have been reported, including 10 associated deaths.
Free influenza vaccine
Free seasonal influenza vaccine is funded for the following groups at higher risk of complications from influenza:
- all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over
- all children aged 6 months to less than 5 years of age (including Aboriginal and medically at risk)
- all individuals aged 5 years and over with medical risk conditions, namely:
- cardiac disease, including cyanotic congenital heart disease, coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure
- chronic respiratory conditions, including suppurative lung disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and severe asthma
- other chronic illnesses requiring regular medical follow up or hospitalisation in the previous year, including diabetes mellitus, chronic metabolic diseases, chronic renal failure, and haemoglobinopathies
- chronic neurological conditions that impact on respiratory function, including multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, and seizure disorders
- impaired immunity, including HIV, malignancy and chronic steroid use
- children aged 6 months to 10 years on long term aspirin therapy.all people aged 65 years and over
- pregnant women (influenza vaccine can be given at any stage of pregnancy)
- people aged 65 years and over (vaccine that is specifically designed to produce a higher immune response is available for this group).
Timing of vaccination
Annual vaccination is recommended before the onset of each influenza season. The period of peak influenza circulation is typically June to September for most parts of Australia. While protection is generally expected to last for the whole season, optimal protection against influenza occurs within the first 3 to 4 months following vaccination. It is never too late to vaccinate since influenza can circulate all year round. Vaccination should continue to be offered as long as influenza viruses are circulating and a valid vaccine (before expiration date) is available. Revaccination later in the same season for individuals who have already received vaccination is not recommended, although not contraindicated.
If you would like your vaccination done; please contact our centre and one of our doctors or nurses will be able to assist.