Getting the flu is no laughing matter but supporting your mates can be when flu season is upon us.
North West residents are being urged to get their flu jabs this year and avoid becoming part of the annual influenza statistics.
North West Hospital and Health Service (NWHHS) Executive Director of Medical Services and Clinical Governance, Associate Professor Alan Sandford, said last year was an unusually bad flu season for the whole of Queensland with more than 56,000 notified cases, and the North West didn’t escape.
“We had 386 confirmed cases for the year, compared with 62 cases in 2016, and already this year we have seven confirmed cases of influenza in the NWHHS.
“So we want people to start planning now to get vaccinated; being vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu.
“It’s just a few minutes of your time and it saves you from the risk of becoming very sick if you catch the flu which can lead to other medical complications such as pneumonia. It’s important to be vaccinated every year as flu strains change annually and people will not be immune to the new strains,” he said.
Pharmaceutical Manager Shana Valentine from Pharmacy First said already they have jabbed 200 customers this year with the fluvax.
“Our goal is 600,” Ms Valentine said.
A free influenza vaccine is available for all adults aged 65 years and older, all pregnant women, all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 15 years and older and all individuals six months and older with medical conditions predisposing them to severe influenza.
“This year, in addition to the Commonwealth-funded free vaccination program, the Queensland Government is also funding a Childhood Influenza Program for all children aged from six months to under five years,” Professor Sandford said.
“Children under five years of age have some of the highest rates of influenza and associated complications, so annual immunisation against influenza is therefore important for all children and continues to be the best way to prevent the spread of influenza.”
People not covered by the free vaccine will need to pay a fee depending on their individual immunisation provider. A consultation fee may also apply at a private GP. Influenza injections are available from pharmacies for around $25.