Health authorities are turning their attention to broader vaccination targets after the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.
In NSW, pharmacies will join a reinvigorated plan for adolescent immunisations for the nearly 80,000 students who missed out on shots when schools were closed during the pandemic.
Authorities will offer human papillomavirus virus and diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis shots for people 12 and up, as well as meningococcal jabs to those aged 14 and over.
It comes as NSW and Victoria report 21,035 new cases of COVID-19, with 11,671 in the northern state.
There were 28 virus-related deaths, including 19 in NSW and nine in Victoria.
NSW has the largest number of people in hospital with the virus, with 1481 compared to 494 in Victoria. There are 54 people in ICU in NSW and 35 in Victoria.
The vaccine push in NSW is on top a call by health experts for Australians to get their flu jabs as hospitals prepare for a winter influx of flu and COVID-19 patients.
Authorities have been predicting a particularly bad flu season after two years of the virus being suppressed by restrictions on international travel and social distancing measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Increased flu vulnerabilities
No deaths were recorded from the flu last year but vaccination coverage also dropped, leaving people vulnerable to new influenza strains.
In 2019 – the last winter before the pandemic – more than 313,000 flu cases were reported in Australia and 902 people died.
NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said nearly 80,000 NSW students missed out on routine vaccinations in 2020 and 2021 due to school closures.
Health workers are trying to play catch-up through school-based programs.
“To make it easier for these students to get up to date with their immunisations, we are now making routine NSW government-funded adolescent vaccinations accessible through local pharmacies across NSW,” Dr Chant said.
She said the vaccines will help teenagers but also the population, as more people vaccinated against a disease reduces the spread.
LATEST 24-HOUR COVID-19 DATA:
- NSW: 11,671 new cases, 19 deaths, 1481 in hospital with 54 in ICU
- Victoria: 9365 new cases, nine deaths, 4942 in hospital with 35 in ICU
- Tasmania: 903 new cases, two deaths, 48 in hospital and one in ICU