The region's public health director Curtis Gregory has urged people to get the flu shot as both flu and COVID-19 cases rise.
There were 255 confirmed cases of flu in the Illawarra Shoalhaven in January and February 2020, compared to 148 confirmed cases for the same period last year. This month, there's already been 86 flu cases across the district.
There'd been 38 confirmed COVID-19 cases by Wednesday morning.
Mr Gregory said the increase in flu this year was due to both an unseasonal elevation in cases, as well as an increase in the awareness of flu-like symptoms and therefore testing because of COVID-19.
"Everyone who can be vaccinated is urged to do so, ahead of a possible convergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and flu during winter. The best time to get vaccinated is from mid-April to May," he said.
"While the flu vaccine won't combat COVID-19, it will help reduce the severity and spread of flu, which can lower a person's immunity and make them susceptible to other illnesses."
Mr Gregory said this year's NSW Health flu program aimed to have vaccine available for target groups from mid-April onwards, with vaccine provided for aged care facility residents late this month.
Flu vaccines were also provided through GPs and pharmacies, and may be offered at different times to the national program.
"This year's flu vaccines have again been specifically tailored to the strains we expect will pose the greatest risk," Mr Gregory said.
This year, more than 2.6 million doses of government-funded flu vaccines will be made available for the National Immunisation Program.
This allows people aged 65 and over, children from six months to under five years, pregnant women, Aboriginal people and those with high-risk medical conditions to be vaccinated for free.
Pharmacists can now supply and administer a private market influenza vaccine to people from age 10.
We have removed our paywall from our stories about the coronavirus. This is a rapidly changing situation and we aim to make sure our readers are as informed as possible. If you would like to support our journalists you can subscribe here.