Free Flu Vaccines For Queensland's Youngsters
Queensland youngsters will be vaccinated against the flu for free for the first time to try to prevent a repeat of last year's prolonged influenza outbreak.
The state government is funding flu vaccines for all children under five while also continuing to provide free shots for pregnant women, seniors, and indigenous people over 15.
In 2017 more than 56,000 cases of influenza were confirmed in Queensland, making it one of the state's worst seasons on record.
Queensland's chief health officer, Dr Jeannette Young, says it's important all children over six months be vaccinated this season and at the right time, from the end of April.
"For most people, the vaccine has its highest degree of coverage for four to five months, and it takes around 10 days to two weeks to develop immunity," she said.
Dr Young said much of last year's flu problems were due to a less effective vaccine, which did not cover the main strain circulating in the community.
In addition to a change of vaccine this year, Queensland Health has also rolled out 15 new point-of-care testing machines throughout the state's largest hospitals.
"The most important thing is if you're sick with the flu, stay home," Dr Young said.