The easing of public health measures and travel restrictions has created an increase in both COVID-19 and Influenza (the Flu) cases during winter.
Both respiratory illnesses can be dangerous, and it's recommended that everyone takes steps to stay protected.
COVID winter booster dose
The immunisation advisory group is now recommending a fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose for an expanded group of people, to be given four months after your first booster dose.
Under the new guidance, people with a medical condition or disability who have complex health needs are encouraged to arrange their fourth vaccine dose. These recommendations are aimed at protecting our most vulnerable community members against severe illness.
People within the new expanded group are those with conditions including:
- Chronic neurological disease with examples as follows: Stroke, neurodegenerative disease (eg dementia, motor neurone disease, Parkinson’s disease), myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, myopathies, paralytic syndromes, epilepsy
Types of Vaccine
If you are aged 18 years or older, you can have the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine as a booster dose regardless of which vaccine you had for your first 2 doses.
If you have already had a confirmed COVID-19 infection, winter doses should be delayed for three months after the infection has cleared. Please speak to your doctor or neurologist for further information.
Find an appointment
Booster appointments are available at multiple locations including pharmacies and GPs. Most NSW Health clinics and pop-up clinics also take “walk-ins,” meaning you don’t have to book.
- Walk in or find an appointment at a NSW Health vaccination clinic.
- Find an appointment at a clinic, GP or pharmacy near you: Service Finder (healthdirect.gov.au)
You can also use ‘Hey Eva’ – Easy Vaccine Access. EVA, is a call back service to help people book a COVID-19 vaccine. If you need help making a COVID-19 vaccine booking, SMS ‘Hey EVA’ to 0481 611 382. A trained call agent from the National Coronavirus Helpline will call you to help book your COVID-19 vaccination.
- Find out more here: Booster vaccination | NSW Government
- ATAGI expands fourth COVID vaccine dose eligibility - Expanded ATAGI recommendations on winter COVID-19 booster doses for people at increased risk of severe COVID-19
- If you would like to read our blog post with more information on COVID and MND, please visit: MND NSW - COVID-19 Update
Ways to reduce risk
- Physical distancing – try to avoid crowds and keep your distance where possible from people who are not part of your household.
- Wear a face mask - wherever possible around others (people with MND can be exempt but if you’re able to wear a mask it is recommended).
- Good hygiene – this includes washing your hands and covering any coughs and sneezes.
- Stay home - If you are self-isolating or just staying at home, you may want to organise home deliveries of food and medications.
- Symptoms - If you experience any coronavirus symptoms you should not go out, you must self-isolate and get tested for the virus if you’re able to. If you need urgent medical attention, please ring 000
The flu vaccine protects you from getting infected with influenza and can prevent serious disease. The flu virus strains constantly change so you need a new vaccine every year to make sure you stay protected.
Most people who are eligible for an additional winter COVID-19 booster will also be eligible for a free flu vaccine.
You can have your flu vaccine at the same time as your COVID-19 booster as these vaccines can now be given at the same appointment.
Free flu vaccinations are available to all NSW residents to boost immunity for the winter season. Until 17 July 2022, free flu shots will be available at:
- GPs for everyone aged 6 months+
- Pharmacies for everyone aged 5 years +
For more information go to Influenza (Flu) - NSW Government
People with motor neurone disease are eligible for a free vaccine under the National Immunisation Program (NIP). For more information go to Free flu vaccinations (ACT)
Northern Territory (NT)
People with motor neurone disease are eligible for a free vaccine under the National Immunisation Program (NIP). For more information go to Flu vaccination | NT.GOV.AU