Year 7 and 10 Gympie region students will be offered free vaccinations this year.
Year 7 and 10 Gympie region students will be offered free vaccinations this year. Greg Miller

Tweed residents reminded to get flu shots

THE Northern NSW community has been reminded to get their flu vaccine following the launch of the 2019 flu campaign.

North Coast Public Health Unit director Paul Corben said nearly 10,000 influenza cases had already been recorded this year including more than 500 in Northern NSW.

"While we might all take flu for granted as a common winter disease, it can be deadly," Mr Corben said.

"In 2017, we had a significant flu season where more than 650 people died across the state.

"We cannot afford to be complacent."

Mr Corben said residents should call ahead to their GP or pharmacist to get their flu jabs with one million flu vaccines having been delivered across the state.

Pregnant women, young children and the elderly will be a major focus of this year's flu campaign.

Free flu vaccines are available for pregnant women, Aboriginal people, those aged over 65, and anyone with medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease.

Hospitalisation rates for influenza are highest in young children with recent national figures showing about 100 per 100,000 in those aged six to 23 months.

The NSW Government has invested about $130 million in the 2018-19 Immunisation Program budget, including Commonwealth and state vaccines.

Free flu vaccines for children aged from six months to under five years of age are being provided under the NSW Government's $2.6 million program.

In addition to booking a flu shot, people are reminded that to help reduce the spread of flu, sneeze into your elbow, wash your hands regularly and stay home if sick.