Act Now with Free Flu Vaccines!
In response to a sharp increase in influenza cases across the State, the Government has announced that free flu vaccinations will be available to every Queensland resident until August 31.
According to the latest statistics, the State has already reported more than 51,426 cases, surpassing last year's total of 44,438 cases for the entire year. Alarming data reveals that Influenza B has caused severe disease in some children, resulting in 78 hospitalisations among children aged 6 months to four years since July 1. Of these, 50 were afflicted with the B strain, and disconcertingly, only one child had been vaccinated.
Under the new program, all residents of Queensland will be able to access free flu vaccinations at general practitioners' offices and pharmacies across the State.
"Influenza can be deadly – in July – 78 children aged 6 months to 4 years old have been hospitalised this month, and only 1 was vaccinated," said Health Minister Shannon Fentiman. "We know children are some of the most at risk in our community, so we'll be working with those health sector experts and the Education Department to make sure we capture the attention of as many families as possible and keep as many kids safe as we can."
Chief Health Officer Dr John Gerrard shared his concerns about the rise in influenza B cases. He stressed the significance of vaccination, particularly among young people.
"Influenza B is now the dominant strain and causing severe illness in otherwise healthy Queenslanders, particularly young people," he warned. "My message is simple: if you or your children have not been vaccinated against flu, I urge you to please book in with your GP or pharmacist to do so."
The Health Minister will raise the issue of making the flu vaccination free for everyone, every year, as part of the National Immunisation Program during the upcoming National Health Minister meeting.
Residents are encouraged to visit the Queensland Health website for further information on the free flu vaccination program and vaccination locations.