Free Flu Jab for Every Queenslander

Free influenza vaccinations will be available from 22 July to 31 August at GPs and pharmacies across Queensland.

The Palaszczuk Government will cover the cost, which is estimated to cost between $5 – 10 million, for providing the vaccination to all Queenslanders, many of whom do not fall within the federally funded national immunisation program.

Influenza cases this year have reached more than 51,426 cases, compared to last year where 44,438 cases were record for the entire year.

Influenza B is causing severe disease in some children. Since 1 July, 78 children aged 6 months to four years old were hospitalised with flu – 50 with the B strain, and only 1 of these children were vaccinated.

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

Anyone who has their vaccination booked before Saturday will also receive it for free.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said this strain of Influenza B is particularly severe, and that vaccination rates in Queensland are low.

“I don’t want there to be any barriers to getting the flu jab, which is why I am reinstating free flu vaccinations for all Queenslanders.

“We know the cost of living is a real concern right now, and this will fill the gap for people who don’t qualify for a free vaccination under the federally run national immunisation program.

Minister for Health, Shannon Fentiman said it is alarmingly, around half of the people who have been hospitalised with influenza B this flu season, are under the age of 20.

“Ideally we want to see the flu vaccination be free for everyone, every year, as part of the national immunisation program, and I’ll be raising this with my state and federal counterparts at the national health minister meeting later this week.”

Chief Health Officer Dr John Gerrard said he is very concerned about the increase in influenza B cases and the high rate of unvaccinated patients, particularly with school recently resuming and the peak of winter approaching.

“Influenza B is now the dominant strain and causing severe illness in otherwise healthy Queenslanders, particularly young people.

“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.”

For more information go to the Queensland Health website.

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