Regional and remote Australians urged to get late flu vaccine 22 November 2023 People living with diabetes in rural and remote areas are being urged to get their flu shot now after low rates of flu vaccinations have put communities at risk across Australia this year. Data has shown that almost 1.8 million less people across the country have had their flu jab this year compared to the 11 million people recorded in 2022. More Queenslanders have been notified they have the flu this year than other Australians with 1,262 notifications per 100,000 people. People living in New South Wales recorded the next highest rates with 1,086 per 100,000. “There are still flu vaccines available,” Diabetes Australia Group CEO Justine Cain said. “Australians living with diabetes who haven’t had their flu shots this year and those living in rural and remote areas, which traditionally have lower flu vaccination rates, can combat the lingering flu season and avoid getting the virus this spring and summer with this simple precaution. “It’s not too late to vaccinate, and the flu vaccine is free for people living with diabetes.” Ms Cain said people with diabetes are three times more likely to be hospitalised with influenza. “This is why we are strongly encouraging people with diabetes to get the flu vaccine,” she said. “In addition to serious illness and hospitalisation, the flu can make it much harder to manage diabetes. “It can be more challenging to detect changes in blood glucose levels and also to eat, drink and take medication if you have the flu.” The influenza vaccine is free under the National Immunisation Program for: People aged six months or over who have medical condition, including diabetes. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged six months and over Children aged six months to under five years Pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy People aged 65 years or over.