Despite warmer weather conditions across much the state, NSW Health is again reminding people to take precautions to minimize the spread of influenza.
NSW Health’s Director of Communicable Disease, Dr Vicky Sheppeard, said while flu activity has decreased or remained stable in most local health districts, we can’t become complacent.
“The most effective precautions people can take are very simple things like staying at home if they are sick, washing hands regularly and covering their coughs,” she said.
“It’s not too late to vaccinate. The flu can affect people of all age groups, even those who are fit and healthy.
“People displaying symptoms should also stay away from elderly friends and relatives, particularly in aged care facilities where outbreaks continue to be reported.”
The latest weekly Influenza Surveillance Report shows 5,314 flu cases for the week ending 11 August, down from 6,451notifications the previous week, taking the yearly total to 78,049.
“There have been 20 additional deaths reported this week in people aged over 65 years, bringing the annual total to 147 deaths,” Dr Sheppeard said.
Almost 2.5 million doses of Government-funded flu vaccines have been distributed across NSW, including over 200,000 doses for children six months to three years and 1.18 million doses for people 65 years and over.
The free vaccine is still available for eligible people who have not yet had their shot.
Flu shots are free under the National Immunisation Program for pregnant women, people over 65 years of age, Aboriginal people and those with medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart problems.
The NSW Government continues a strong investment on statewide immunisation programs including $2.6 million for free flu shots to children up to five years of age and a $1.5 million immunisation and influenza awareness campaign.
The NSW Government will invest about $130 million in the 2019-20 Immunisation Program budget, including Commonwealth and state vaccines.