Aboriginal people encouraged to get free flu jab
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people face a greater risk of getting sick with flu.
As the weather turns cold, Dee McNamara has an important message for her mob — get the flu shot.
Dee, an Aboriginal Immunisation Health Worker with Sydney Local Health District, is urging all Aboriginal people to protect themselves against flu this winter.
"Influenza virus is responsible for a substantial disease burden. However, the burden is much greater in Australia's First Peoples, especially those classified as 'at risk' and Mob who have high rates of chronic disease," she said.
"To protect your family, and everyone in and around the community, it is a good idea to get your flu shot and also get a COVID shot."
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are more likely to get seriously ill with the flu and to need treatment in hospital.
Cissi Bateman, a Support Coordinator at Wyanga Aboriginal Aged Care, has also made sure to get her flu jab this winter.
For Cissi, getting vaccinated against the flu is all about protecting her loved ones.
"(The) last thing I want to do is pass anything on to my grandkids. I need to keep them healthy and safe. (I'd) recommend anyone out there with kids, grandkids, big families as I've got a big family… please go and get your shots."
Flu is highly contagious and is more serious than the common cold.
Symptoms of flu include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, joint pains, headaches and fatigue and in some cases nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Health experts say with international borders reopening, increased social mixing and lower exposure to flu during the pandemic, more people of all ages will be at risk of getting flu this year than in the past two years.
It's also been advised that flu and COVID-19 vaccines can be given together at the same time.
As well as Aboriginal peoples, there are others who are considered to be at a greater risk of becoming seriously ill from flu and who can get a free flu jab.
- Children under five
- People over 65 years of age
- Pregnant women
- Medically at-risk groups like those with heart disease, asthma or diabetes
The vaccine is available for eligible people through their GP and through their local Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS).
To find out more about flu and the flu jab, visit www.health.nsw.gov.au/flu