Children and adults put on a brave face and got vaccinated at a free flu shot clinic in Batemans Bay on Monday.
The initiative, run by Southern NSW Local Health District, will see free flu shots on offer for people of all ages on May 14 in an effort to protect communities against the virus.
Community health nurse Sarah Carpenter said April/May was the ideal time to get vaccinated against the flu.
“The peak flu season is July/August and the vaccine wanes after 3-4 months, so it’s good to get it in April/May to get you through to September. Now is the best time,” Ms Carpenter said.
Ms Carpenter said the free flu clinic aimed to build immunity within the community. She encouraged everyone who was able to, to brave the jab.
“Some people can’t get the flu shot – some immunosuppressed people and cancer patients can’t have it – but the more people around them that do get it, the less likely it is for the virus to get to them as the people around them don’t have it,” she said.
She said even the seemingly young and healthy were at risk of contracting the flu.
“Teenagers in high school are at a greater risk because they’re in a general populace where people will go to school sick, so it is a lot easier to get into contact with influenza that way,” she said.
Fellow nurse Elizabeth Craze said it was important to not let myths hold people back from getting vaccinated.
“People tend to think, ‘I got the flu shot, then I came down with the flu’. If you do get a severe form of the flu after having the vaccine, it may be that it mutated, or changed or it is a different strain of flu from what we are protecting you against,” Ms Craze said.
“If you do get the flu (after having the vaccine), it will be a much milder form and won’t be as life-threatening.”
Ms Craze encouraged everyone to be proactive in preventing the spread of the disease.
“If you do come down with influenza, you should stay at home, don’t go out in public and spread it to everyone else; practise good hand-washing techniques; if you’re using tissues to blow your nose and cough into, make sure you dispose of the tissue and clean your hands afterwards so you’re not going to spread it,” she said.
NSW Health will provide free flu shots to people of all ages at the University of Wollongong Campus, Hanging Rock, Beach Road, Batemans Bay, on Monday, May 14 from 10am-3pm.