A major spike in influenza cases has been recorded in the Riverina, with the region's slow uptake of flu vaccines being blamed on "needle fatigue".
Exactly 72 cases of the flu were recorded in the Murrumbidgee Local Health District last week, a significant jump from the 45 that had been reported in the opening four months of the year.
The sudden rise comes as Wagga's pharmacists warn of a significantly slow uptake of the flu shot.
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Kooringal Pharmacy co-owner Justin Smith said residents have only just started turning up for their flu shots in the past two weeks.
"Usually we have quite an influx of people coming in for their vaccines in April but really it was a bit hit or miss this year," he said. "But every day for about the last two weeks we have had an influx of people walking in or making appointments."
Mr Smith said the pattern is later than what pharmacies are used to and is "probably because of needle fatigue from all the COVID series".
This sentiment was shared by Hani Fanous, the owner of Terry White Chemmart in Tolland, who urged the community to come forward for their flu shots.
"We're trying to push it because the problem is some people can get the flu and it creates a lot of confusion because they don't know if it COVID or not," he said. "We have done a few hundred but not as much as we expected to do."
The past two years saw record low numbers of flu cases in NSW due to the public health measures put in place because of the pandemic.
NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said this could leave young children, who have had little to no exposure to the flu, particularly vulnerable.
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