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Queensland makes flu jabs free for everyone as cases double in a week


Queenslanders will have access to free flu jabs across the state as the government seeks to curb rising cases.

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Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the initiative on Monday as influenza A cases increase after two years of low flu numbers due to COVID-19.

Free flu jabs will be available from Tuesday up until the 30th of June.

“We have large number of concerns at the moment because our cases are doubling and escalating quite quickly,” the premier said on Monday.

“We are going to see escalating numbers in our hospitals so we need to do a pre-emptive strike now.

“We need to make sure we have this preventative measure in place, and I am encouraging all families in Queensland to please take up this offer of getting a free flu vaccination.”

The state’s cases jumped from 1848 to 4282 cases in the past week with 151 people in hospital with influenza and 10 in intensive care.

“We have seen how difficult it has been to fight COVID-19,” the Premier said. “To fight COVID-19 and the flu is doubly hard.

“That’s why we are making these flu shots free for everyone.”

Acting Chief Health Officer Dr Peter Aitken said time is of the essence.

“Influenza A is more severe than Influenza B,” Dr Aitken said.

“It leads to greater numbers needing to go to hospital.

“Vaccination rates for children 6 months to less than 5 years of age is just 6%.

“I urge parents of all age groups to please take up this offer of a free vaccine.”

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said the free vaccines will be available for all Queenslanders aged six months and older.

“Flu vaccines are generally not free except for the most vulnerable,” the Minister said.

“Our 2017 season saw more than 750 people in intensive care and our 2019 season saw about 300 people

“The fact that more than 4,000 cases have already been detected when flu seasons don’t usually begin until late July is very concerning.

“Our best defence is to get as many people vaccinated as possible.”

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