Local children aged between six months and five years old are now eligible for free flu jabs this year, Member for Murray Austin Evans has announced.
The $3.5million influenza vaccination program offered by the NSW Government follows last year’s severe flu season.
‘‘Last year our community, like many in NSW, was hit hard by the flu season,’’ Mr Evans said.
‘‘More than 400000 children across the state are eligible to receive better protection not only for them, but also for their families and the wider community.
‘‘We all know how horrendous the flu can be and this is especially hard on the smallest members of our families,’’ Mr Evans said.
‘‘Little kids are also most likely to spread the flu so a free flu jab will not only keep them safe, but will protect others they come into contact with.’’
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said NSW childhood vaccination rates had increased by 6.3 per cent since 2010, to 93.9 per cent in 2017.
‘‘We already have some of the best childhood vaccination rates in the country and this free flu jab will go even further to protect our little ones from potentially deadly flu infections,’’ Mr Hazzard said.
Children who have never had a flu vaccination will need two doses, one month apart. The vaccine will cover four strains of influenza virus — two A strains and two B strains — likely to be circulating this winter.
Last year there were more than 12000 confirmed cases of influenza in children under five years old, with many more likely not to have been tested.