Free flu jab for everyone in state

Published 9:02am 24 May 2022

Free flu jab for everyone in state
Words by Nick Crockford

All Queenslanders will be offered a free flu vaccination as the state faces a severe outbreak of Influenza A.

COVID-19 measures had reduced flu cases to almost nil since 2020, but more than 4000 cases have already been reported in 2022.

Cases in Queensland are doubling every week increasing from 1848 to 4282 in the past week, prompting Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to take the decision because:

  • Influenza A mostly impacts young and old age groups more than others
  • Vaccine rates and immunity levels are low
  • Case numbers are climbing faster and earlier than expected

“We have seen how difficult it has been to fight COVID-19,” the Premier said. “To fight COVID-19 and the flu is doubly hard. That’s why we are making flu shots free for everyone.”

More severe

Acting Chief Health Officer Dr Peter Aitken said: “Influenza A is more severe than Influenza B. It leads to greater numbers needing to go to hospital.

“Vaccination rates for children 6 months to less than 5 years of age is just 6 per cent. I urge parents of all age groups to please take up this offer of a free vaccine.”

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said the free vaccines will be available for all Queenslanders aged six months and older.

“Flu vaccines are generally not free except for the most vulnerable,” the State Member for Redcliffe said.

“Our 2017 season saw more than 750 people in intensive care and our 2019 season saw about 300 people.

Best defence

“The fact that more than 4000 cases have already been detected when flu seasons don’t usually begin until late July is very concerning.

“Our best defence is to get as many people vaccinated as possible.”

The vaccines will be available free from GPs and pharmacies from now until the end of June.

Residents should speak with their GP or pharmacist to see which vaccine is available to them.

There are no changes for people already eligible under the National Immunisation program who should continue to access influenza vaccine from their usual vaccination providers.

For more information go to the Queensland Health website.

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