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Nurse talking to patient about flu vaccination

Becky, receives health advice during her free flu vaccination. She says coming to "Mama Lana's makes me feel human again".

House call with a difference

09 May 2019


Getting around to having a flu shot can be the last thing on your mind when you sleep rough on the streets or couch surf, to help out the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District took their vaccination clinic out into the community.

Teaming up with a local charity, NBMLHD public health nurses offered flu shots to patrons attending one of the regular breakfasts hosted by Mama Lana’s Community Foundation in Penrith.

NBMLHD Director of Public Health, Associate Professor Bradley Forssman, says free flu vaccinations are available to many people in the community but sometimes it’s a challenge for people to get to a GP or a clinic.

“Getting a yearly flu shot is one the best ways to protect yourself from the flu, but some of our most vulnerable communities often miss out. Joining forces this year with Mama Lana’s means people who came along for a free breakfast could also have a chat to a nurse and get a free influenza vaccination,” says Associate Professor Forssman.

Lana Borg, co-founder of Mama Lana’s, welcomed the opportunity to help patrons of her service get prepared for winter.

“Opening our doors to the Local Health District nurses was an easy decision to make because we know how important healthcare is for our patrons, especially through the cold winters in Penrith,” says Ms Borg.

“People who come to us know we never turn anyone away and we offer help without strings. We want our patrons to feel like they are at home when they come to us.”

Lana Borg and Bradley Forssman in front of Mama Lana

Lana Borg and Associate Professor Bradley Forssman

In NSW, free flu vaccines are available for pregnant women, Aboriginal people, those aged over 65, children aged 6 months to 5 years and anyone with medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease. Talk to your GP or pharmacist to find out more. Some employers may also offer free shots for their staff.

Associate Professor Forssman says other ways to help stop the spread of colds and flu are to stay home from work or school when you’re unwell, avoid visiting elderly relatives when you’re sick, washing your hands regularly, using tissues and sneezing into your elbow not your hands.

Free flu vaccines for children aged from six months to under five years of age are being provided under the NSW Government’s $2.6 million program.

The NSW Government has invested about $130 million in the 2018-19 Immunisation Program budget, including Commonwealth and state vaccines.