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For more than two years, the country’s borders have been closed and lockdowns have been in place which has inhibited the spread of viruses such as the flu.
Now, NSW Health data has revealed the rise in flu cases with more than 1,500 flu infections reported already this year.
In the whole of 2021, only 124 cases of influenza were reported in NSW.
“Influenza is on the rise in Australia with the borders opening, with winter coming and with more crowding we expect to see a surge in April and May and we are already starting to see it,” infectious diseases expert Professor Robert Booy said.
Rise of flu and COVID-19 cases
Not only are flu cases on the rise but so are COVID-19 cases sparking calls from experts to get vaccinated against both viruses.
“That combination of COVID-19 and the flu and we really just don’t know what the brings,” AMA NSW President Danielle McMullen said.
“So this year, even if you haven’t done it before it’s really a call out to roll up your sleeves.”
People can receive the COVID-19 vaccine and flu vaccine at the same time.
“There is no issue whatsoever in getting a COVID-19 vaccine in one arm and a flu in the other arm, that’ll give you double the protection,” Professor Booy said.
Where to find the cheapest flu vaccines?
The flu vaccine is free under the National Immunisation Program for over 65s, pregnant women, children under five, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and those with certain chronic conditions.
Those in this eligible group are able to walk into a pharmacy to get vaccinated for free.
“Most pharmacies who are vaccinating are taking walk-ins right this minute and we are expecting a big influenza season,” Nick Logan, from Pharmacist Advice, said.
Children under ten can only be vaccinated at the doctor.
For those not included in the free program, prices can range from $18 to $30.
9News understands the most affordable flu vaccine is available at Chemist Warehouse for $17.99, while at Blooms it is $19.99.
Meanwhile Priceline and Terry White charge around $24.95.
“It’s the best way to get protected against a very serious and sometimes deadly condition,” Terry White Chief Pharmacist Brenton Hart said.