Are you winter ready?

6 June 2023

COORDINARE – South Eastern NSW PHN, the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD), and Southern NSW Local Health District (SNSWLHD) are encouraging everyone in South Eastern NSW to get their flu shot and COVID-19 booster to top up their protection this winter.

ISLHD Head of Infectious Diseases Professor Spiros Miyakis, said that as the cooler months arrive it’s important to take measures to protect yourself and those around you.

"We urge people to get their flu shot and to top up your COVID booster if it’s been six months since your last COVID vaccination or infection. This will provide the best protection against serious illness, and reduce the risk of having both viruses at the same time," said Prof Miyakis.

You can receive your flu and COVID vaccinations at the same time but that will depend on your doctor or pharmacy having both vaccines available for your appointment.  

"The flu vaccine takes about two weeks to boost your immune system and will protect you for three to four months. If you are vaccinated now, you will be covered before the peak flu period from around June to September," SNSWLHD Director Public Health Alison Nikitas added.

The flu vaccine is free under the National Immunisation Program for people most at risk of complications from influenza, including:

  • people aged 65 years and older
  • pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy
  • all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged six months and over
  • all children aged between six months and five years
  • people aged six months and older with certain medical conditions.

Prudence Buist, CEO of COORDINARE – South Eastern NSW PHN said the organisation, in partnership with NSW Health, has launched a winter vaccination campaign encouraging people to get ready for winter.

"The flu and COVID campaign messages have been translated into 11 commonly spoken languages in our region, as we are particularly concerned for vulnerable members of our culturally and linguistically diverse communities as well as First Nations people," said Ms Buist.

The campaign will appear on multicultural radio stations across the region, in letterboxes, on social media and online advertising.

"Vaccinations are the best way to protect yourself, and your family from serious illness. In addition to ensuring your vaccinations are up to date, you are reminded to sneeze into your elbow, wash your hands regularly, and stay home when you are sick to help stop the spread of both flu and COVID-19," Ms Buist added.

People are encouraged to contact their usual general practice, Aboriginal Medical Service, community health centre or pharmacy to make an appointment for their vaccinations, it is not recommended for people to arrive unscheduled for a vaccination. 

Those who are worried about their symptoms should seek advice from their doctor or call healthdirect Australia on 1800 022 222 to talk to a registered nurse, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

To find out more, visit the NSW Health website.

COORDINARE news, Media release