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Flu vaccine to be free for Queenslanders as case numbers double


All Queenslanders will be able to access a free flu shot at their pharmacy or GP from tomorrow until June 30, premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced.
The move is a “preemptive strike” against dominant flu strain, influenza A, as cases of influenza double every week, threatening to place additional pressure on the state’s already strained hospital system.

There are currently 4282 Queenslanders with the flu, with 150 people in hospital and 10 people in the ICU.

Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced flu vaccines will be free for Queenslanders from tomorrow until June 30. (Nine)

Palaszczuk said recorded flu numbers were doubling every week.

“Our cases are escalating and doubling quite quickly,” Palaszczuk said.

“What we’re particularly concerned about is the effect on young people.”

Influenza A, currently accounting for 98 per cent of flu cases is particularly harmful for young people in the 10-39 age rage.

It also impacts the elderly and those with chronic illness.

“The symptoms are very similar to COVID,” Palaszcuk said.

The premier said Queenslanders may be experiencing “vaccine fatigue” in the midst of the pandemic, but that vaccinating against flu is crucial to keep hospital admissions down.

People can be infected with both the flu and COVID-19, increasing the severity of both illnesses.

Palaszcuk said the jab has been made free so it is accessible to all families.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said the current flu case numbers were comparable to the 2017 flu season, which saw large numbers of Queenslanders hospitalised.

“We are already at the hospital admission rate that we were at the end of 2017 which means this is escalating very quickly,” D’Ath said.

“We could end up with 400 to 500 hospital admissions and that won’t be the peak.

“We need you to go out and get vaccinated right now,” she said.



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