Now is the time to get vaccinated

Richard Laycock 4 July 2017 NEWS

Older woman receives a flu vaccination

Rates of influenza are on the rise.

With flu season expected to peak in the coming weeks, NSW Health is urging those who haven't already done so to get vaccinated.

“Our surveillance shows the flu season started earlier than usual this year and we expect to see a large increase in infections in the coming weeks,” said director communicable disease for NSW Health Dr Vicky Sheppeard.

In 2017 there have been 6474 flu notifications to NSW Health, with 2576 notifications coming in June.

As NSW nears peak flu season, reported cases of flu are on the rise. In the week ending 25 June there were 721 notifications of confirmed influenza, a 62% increase on the number of cases the previous week (453 notifications).

Western Sydney reported the highest number of cases (199), at a rate of 20.52 per 100,000. Western Sydney was followed by Northern Sydney (135 notifications/14.75 rate per 100K), Northern NSW (42 notifications/13.7 rate per 100K) and Sydney (85 notifications/12.98 rate per 100K).

Local Health District Week ending 25 Jun 2017 Average (previous 4 weeks)
Number of notifications Rate per 100,000 population Number of notifications Rate per 100,000 population
Central Coast 28 8.11 5 1.38
Far West 0 0 1 3.27
Hunter New England 41 4.41 23 2.5
Illawarra Shoalhaven 7 1.71 7 1.77
Mid North Coast 6 2.7 6 2.47
Murrumbidgee 8 3.3 2 0.83
Nepean Blue Mountains 36 9.36 12 3.12
Northern NSW 42 13.7 20 6.44
Northern Sydney 135 14.75 73 7.98
South Eastern Sydney 75 8.08 60 6.41
South Western Sydney 50 5.05 38 3.86
Southern NSW 1 0.47 1 0.58
Sydney 85 12.98 36 5.46
Western NSW 8 2.86 3 1.16
Western Sydney 199 20.52 75 7.73

"Vaccination is the best protection against seasonal influenza. Those eligible for a free vaccine should make an appointment with their local doctor as soon as possible. Other people can see their GP or chemist, Dr Sheppeard said”

A report from earlier this year, Vaccine Myopia, found that only 51% of those eligible for government-funded vaccines were receiving them each year.

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Picture: Shutterstock

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