Residents of all ages are taking up the option of getting an early flu shot from chemists and medical centres with one Orange pharmacy vaccinating almost half as many people in a week as it did in two months last year.
McCarthy's Pharmacy pharmacist in charge Annika Rookyard said the influenza vaccine usually lasts about four to six months so people are usually encouraged to get them later.
However, she said that recommendation was changed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Miss Rookyard said the vaccinations would not prevent coronavirus but by not catching the flu an individual would have a better chance if they did contract COVID-19.
She said McCarthy's Pharmacy was charging $20 for the shot and was welcoming walk-ins and the age limit has been brought down to 10 years of age.
"We've done 400 this week, which is great," Miss Rookyard said on Friday.
"Last year we did about 1000 all up and that's what we did over the flu shot season of one to two months."
Influenza can kill you, it can easily lead to death in a number of populations.Annika Rookyard, McCarthy's Pharmacy
She said whole families have been coming in with the process taking about 15 to 20 minutes.
Doctors across Orange have also now received the vaccinations they give for free to people aged over 65, people with chronic health conditions, Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people, pregnant women, and children under five years of age.
People are advised to contact their GP to check eligibility and to ensure they have the vaccine.
According to the NSW Health Influenza Vaccination Provider Toolkit a specialty vaccine that will be provided by doctors.
The vaccine has been made to crease a greater immune response for people aged over 65.
However, while the specially formulated vaccine is recommended, the toolkit also states that all available influenza vaccines can also be used among people aged 65 years and over.
"For herd immunity, the more people vaccinated the best it is for everyone. Influenza can kill you, it can easily lead to death in a number of populations."
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A spokeswoman from Blooms the Chemist Orange said the pharmacy anticipates higher than usual demand so it's working with suppliers and she recommended people contact the chemist for an appointment.
"Blooms The Chemist Orange has been offering flu vaccinations over the past three weeks," she said.
She said by more people being protected and reducing the spread of influenza, it would take pressure off the hospital system, which is currently under immense strain.
To protect staff and ensure the chemist remains open, Blooms has also split its staff roster so the store will operate with two separate teams.
A statement from the business said if one team were to become unwell then the other team could step in to ensure the pharmacy keeps running.
From April 14, Orange Health Service will also provide free flu shots for children from its Kite Street centre. Children can receive the vaccinations between 1pm and 3pm.
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