Free flu shots extended

Broken Hill residents can still receive a free influenza vaccine with the program extending until July 17.

NSW Health has provided more time for community members amid concerns that the state’s vaccination rates are still not at the expected level.

Health Minister, Brad Hazzard, said the latest data shows only one in four children under five has had a flu shot while the figures are even lower for kids aged five to 15.

“It’s really worrying that just over 18 per cent of children and teenagers have had a flu jab and for kids aged six months to five years, the figure is 25 per cent,” he said.

The extension announcement was made two days ago with the initial end date set for June 30.

Mr Hazzard urged families to book a free flu shot during the school holidays.

“It only takes a few minutes to get a flu jab but that time could mean the difference between you or one of your loved ones ending up in ICU so please, book in today,” he said.

The free flu shots are available at GPs for people aged six months and over and pharmacies for everyone aged five years and above.

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In Broken Hill, 29.6 per cent of children aged six months to 5 years, 39.2 per cent of 50–65-year-olds and 65.4 per cent of 65 and older have received the flu jab according NSW Health statistics.

Local chemists admitted to being short-stocked at the start of June as many residents snapped up the opportunity in the first week.

Dr Kerry Chant, NSW’s Chief Health Officer, encouraged the public to get a flu shot to help prevent unnecessary hospitalisations.

“Please take advantage of the offer of the free vaccination to protect yourself against the flu this winter,” she said.

“There is plenty of supply and appointments available at GPs and pharmacies.”

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