With an early spike in influenza cases the NSW government has been prompted to launch a month-long flu shot blitz.
The influenza vaccination is free for all NSW residents throughout in an effort to combat this year's expected severe season.
According to NSW Health data, there have already been 19,000 cases of influenza this year and cases have ballooned in recent weeks.
Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said there had been 1140 cases notified this week, compared with 766 in the previous week, along with 150 presentations and admissions to hospitals.
"We strongly urge everyone over six months of age to get a flu shot as soon as possible to protect themselves and their loved ones, as the virus is easily spread and potentially deadly," Dr Chant said.
"This is particularly important for those in high-risk groups, such as the elderly and children aged six months to five years. If you live in an aged or disability care facility, are aged over 65 or are immunocompromised, now is the time to book in.
"We also recommend a COVID-19 winter booster if you are eligible, as both flu and COVID-19 vaccines can be given at the same time."
The Commonwealth Government already provides vaccines for vulnerable populations - such as children under five and over 65s - and funds GPs to administer vaccines.
However, Dr Chant said COVID-19 has taught the government that the role of pharmacies is crucial, so the NSW Government will funding community pharmacies to deliver influenza vaccinations this June.
The free shots will be available until June 30.
NSW Health has also permitted pharmacies to administer flu vaccines to children aged five-years-old, reduced from 10 years, making it easier for families to be vaccinated together.
GPs will be reimbursed for any flu stock they have already purchased that is used in the month of June for this vaccination program.
Last week, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard flagged that free flu shots were coming, and said people needed to understand that vaccines were the key to making sure the health system could cope through winter.
"The flu season has hit NSW earlier and harder than it has for many years," he said.
"It is absolutely crucial that you go and get your flu vaccine as soon as possible.
"We know over 65s are particularly vulnerable, but around 50 per cent of over 65s have not yet accessed a flu vaccine.
In looking after yourself, you're looking after your family and friends, and taking a little bit of that pressure of doctors, nurses and cleaners who run our health system in NSW."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.