The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has welcomed Queensland’s influenza vaccination blitz and urged people in the state not to miss out.
Starting on Saturday 22 July until 31 August under the program, Queenslanders will be able to get a free flu vaccine from their GP or pharmacy.
“I’m very pleased our state government has taken action, it’s shaping up to be a bad flu season,” RACGP Queensland Chair Dr Bruce Willett said.
“This should be permanent – free influenza vaccines should be available every flu season for everyone. It shouldn’t be a knee-jerk reaction.
“Queensland has the highest number of cases reported in Australia, at well over 50,600, and we have had some very tragic cases of young children dying.
“Vaccination is our best protection from influenza, and we really need to boost our vaccine coverage in Queensland, particularly among children. Only 18.6% of babies and children under five are vaccinated, and 11.1% of children under 15. This compares to 61.5% of people over the age of 65.
“Vaccination is especially important for people at higher risk of severe illness. This includes babies and children under five, people aged 65 years and older, pregnant women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and people with certain medical conditions.”
Dr Willett says it’s important for people to get the right vaccine for them.
“Your GP will know what vaccine is right for you,” he said.
“Some people are at higher risk of severe illness and potentially hospitalisation, and they are recommended to get a higher dose vaccine. This includes people aged 65 years and older.
“People should also consider getting their 2023 COVID-19 booster on the same day – it’s safe and more convenient to get both at the same time.
“The COVID-19 booster dose is available for everyone aged 18 and above, and you can get it six months after your last dose or COVID infection.”