Free flu jabs will be available from 10:00am – 2:00pm on Monday 14 May at the University of Wollongong Campus, ‘Hanging Rock’, Beach Road, Batemans Bay as part of Southern Local Health District’s campaign to encourage the community to get vaccinated this winter. The flu vaccine is being provided free for a limited time in communities across the state as part of NSW Health’s $1.75 million immunisation campaign following one of the worst flu seasons on record last year, which caused over 650 flu-related deaths. “Vaccination is your best protection against the flu, so we encourage you and your loved ones to get vaccinated against this deadly infection this winter,” Director, Public Health Murrumbidgee and Southern NSW Local Health Districts said. “The best time to have the flu vaccine is in April or May to ensure your protection doesn’t wane before the flu season peaks. The vaccine takes two weeks to be fully effective. “Flu vaccines are now available at most GPs, Aboriginal Medical Services and, for children under five years of age, from council and community centres that routinely provide vaccination services.” Free flu shots are available to members of the community who are pregnant, people over 65 years of age, most Aboriginal people and those with medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart problems. “For a limited time on Monday 14 May, Southern NSW LHD is also making the flu shot available for free to any member of the community at the University of Wollongong Campus, ‘Hanging Rock’, Beach Road, Batemans Bay.” Vaccination is the best protection against the flu, but the following steps also help prevent the spread of influenza: o Cough and sneeze into your elbow o Clean your hands o Stay home when sick. The Southern NSW Local Health District will be implementing its winter plans for local hospitals, which include procedures for allocating additional resources during periods of high demand, providing free flu vaccinations for frontline health staff and promoting good hygiene practices that help fight the spread of flu. “The World Health Organization advises this year’s flu vaccine will be a better match to the four circulating strains and offer higher protection than last year. We urge everyone to get the flu jab to build our immunity in the community and beat the flu bug this winter – it could save your life,” Mrs Oakman said. The NSW Government will spend a record $22.75 million on state-wide immunisation programs in 2017-18, including $3.5 million for free flu shots to children up to five years of age to boost protection against flu in our communities.