CENTRAL Coast residents who are most at risk of getting sick during this year's flu season can now access a free influenza vaccine, under the Federal Government's National Immunisation Program.
Member for Robertson, Lucy Wicks MP said 2017 had the highest influenza activity in Australia in almost a decade, mirroring a global trend, with more than 250,000 Australians testing positive for influenza and double the normal hospitalisations.
"I urge everyone on the Central Coast to consider getting a flu shot this year. Annual influenza vaccination is recommended for any person six months of age and older, with vaccines also available on the private market," Mrs Wicks said.
"It's important to get the flu shot every year, as the virus changes year to year.
"If anyone would like more information about the vaccines, my team will be at the senior's expo at Kincumber Uniting Church this Friday and Saturday."
Those who are eligible for a free flu shot under the National Immunisation Program include people aged 65 years and over, most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and those who suffer from chronic conditions.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said flu shots are available now at general practices and other vaccination providers. They're also available for purchase at many pharmacies.
"Last year over 90 per cent of the 1,100 influenza-associated deaths were in people aged 65 years and older and this year we have taken specific action to address this," Minister Hunt said.
"Two new ground-breaking flu vaccines are now available for Australians aged over 65. These are specifically targeted at this age group, offering stronger doses and now available for the first time in Australia.
"Getting vaccinated from mid-April will ensure you are protected before Australia's peak flu period, from around June to September."
Authorised by Greg Hunt MP, Liberal Party of Australia, Hastings, Victoria.
The composition of the Australian vaccine is decided by the Australian Influenza Vaccine Committee in consultation with the World Health Organization.
Influenza vaccines are age-specific, so ask your doctor about the best vaccine for you or your child's circumstances.
For more information visit the Immunise Australia website at: www.immunise.health.gov.au