North Coast Parents encouraged to vaccinate children against the flu

Parents are being reminded of the effectiveness of flu vaccination, following a recent rise in influenza rates and hospitalisations among children and teenagers.

NSW Health data indicates that child emergency department presentations due to influenza increased by 37% in the first week of July, with a 30% increase in hospital admissions.

In NSW, 25.3% of children aged 6 months to 5 years, and 14.5 % of 5–15-year-olds have been vaccinated against the flu. These figures are lower for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children with 16.7% of children aged 6 months to 5 years, and 12.3% of 5–15-year-olds vaccinated.

Healthy North Coast CEO, Monika Wheeler said that even though we are well into Winter, it’s never too late to ensure our children’s immunity is boosted.

“A yearly flu shot is recommended for everyone aged 6 months and over, and this vaccine can often be given with other vaccines, including COVID-19.” Ms Wheeler explained.

“With our children active at school and day-care, the chance of them contracting the flu is heightened, and no parent wants to face the very real risk of a seriously ill child.

“We are encouraging all parents to speak with their doctor, pharmacist or Aboriginal Medical Service about booking a flu shot today,” said Ms Wheeler.

FREE flu vaccines are available for those considered to be at higher risk of severe illness from influenza including:

  • children six months to under five years
  • people 65 and over
  • Aboriginal people from six months of age
  • pregnant women
  • those with serious health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, immune disorders, obesity, severe asthma, kidney, heart, lung or liver disease

If your child has flu symptoms such as a fever, cough, noisy breathing, sore throat, runny nose, muscle aches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea, keep them at home and avoid close contact with other people to prevent others from also becoming sick.

Keep your child at home until they are well, and their fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine, like paracetamol. If your child has a confirmed diagnosis of influenza from a doctor, your child may remain infectious for at least 10 days.

This is especially important if you visit people who are at higher risk of severe illness from influenza – including pregnant women, young infants, older people or people in hospital or residential care facilities.

The community can also access a handy Vaccine Clinic Finder tool.

Contact for media enquiries

Andy Roberts

Phone: 0448000486

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