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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    JOINT STATEMENT
    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk
    Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Queenslanders urged to grab a jab this flu season

    JOINT STATEMENT

    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

    Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Friday, April 22, 2016

    Queenslanders urged to grab a jab this flu season

    The Palaszczuk Government is urging all Queenslanders to protect themselves this winter by getting their flu shots, with the influenza vaccine now fully available throughout the state.

    Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick kick started the annual flu vaccination campaign, leading by example and getting their flu shots at Parliament House this week before inviting Queenslanders to follow suit.

    “We want all Queenslanders to stay healthy this winter, and the best protection they can offer themselves and their community is to get vaccinated and encourage others to do so too,” the Premier said.

    “When more people are protected against the flu, the virus has less chance of circulating in our community, and this means we can reduce pressure on our hospitals and on our work places, which often suffer from staff shortages as people take time off sick or to look after someone who is.”

    Mr Dick encouraged Queenslanders play their part in not only shielding themselves from sickness, but in helping to relieve pressure on public hospitals while they experience a surge in patients this flu season.

    “We have already seen more than 2600 flu cases this year in Queensland and we know it’s only going to get worse,” Mr Dick said.

    “Unfortunately some people need reminding that emergency departments are there for life-threatening emergencies, and in many cases the flu is not one of them.

    “That is why this flu season, we are encouraging Queenslanders who feel unwell to visit their GP or to call 13 HEALTH which is available 24-hours a day.

    “A lot of issues that our public health system encounters every winter can be avoided by Queenslanders protecting themselves with a flu shot.

    “Each flu vaccination means one less person waiting in an emergency department, one more hospital bed free for someone in desperate need and one more ambulance remaining on the road answering urgent calls.”

    Mr Dick said a flu vaccination was needed each year because the effectiveness of the vaccines wanes over time and the strains used in the vaccines could change depending on which virus strains were expected to be prevalent.

    This year, the government-funded immunisation program is using a quadrivalent vaccine, which protects against two ‘A’ and two ‘B’ strains of the influenza virus.

    The quadrivalent vaccine was introduced after a significant increase in flu cases involving a particular Type B flu strain last year that wasn’t included in the 2015 vaccine.

    The vaccine is available throughout Queensland through primary health care providers, such as GPs.

    Free flu vaccines are available under the National Immunisation Program for individuals at higher risk of severe complications of influenza disease, which includes:

    • All adults aged 65 years or older
    • Pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy
    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged six months to five years of age
    • Individuals older than six months of age with medical conditions predisposing them to severe influenza
    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged under 15 years of age
    • Children aged six months to 10 years on long-term aspirin therapy

    “There is no better time than now to take action by booking an appointment with your immunisation provider to give the flu the flick,” Mr Dick said.