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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
    The Honourable Steven Miles

    Vaccines up, flu cases down

    Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
    The Honourable Steven Miles

    Tuesday, July 31, 2018

    Vaccines up, flu cases down

    The Palaszczuk Government’s free child flu vaccination program has already vaccinated more than 100,000 Queensland kids and flu cases are down across the state.

    Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles said the latest figures show 5,668 notifications of influenza so far this year, more than 3,300 less than the same time last year.

    “It’s no secret last year’s flu season was horrendous, and I’m thrilled to see the numbers aren’t tracking in the same direction this year,” he said.

    Part of that has to do with Queenslander’s heeding the message that vaccination is the best form of protection against the flu.

    More than 1.1 million government-funded flu vaccines distributed across the state this year.

    “While there have been 633 hospitalisations in Queensland public hospitals for influenza year to date in 2018, it’s around half of hospitalisations for the same time last year.

    “92 Queenslanders have been admitted to ICU this year, compared with around 106 for the same period in 2017.”

    Minister Miles said the new vaccination program for kids under five has been popular.

    “Queensland Health has distributed more than 100,000 flu vaccines for children aged six months to three years (children aged over three receive the adult vaccine),” he said.

    “Of all the vaccine-preventable diseases, influenza causes the most hospital admissions of children under five years of age.

    “I’m pleased to see so many Queensland parents taking the important step to protect their children from the flu.

    “A young child’s immune system is still developing and they lack previous exposure to the flu, which is why this initiative is so important.

    “The risks of serious complications for kids who contract the flu are high – and we also know that kids are super spreaders in the community.

    “That’s why we introduced this program, to ensure young children have the best chance of protection against influenza.

    “It is reassuring to know that our messages targeting parents of young children have been heard.”

    Minister Miles said for those who have not yet vaccinated against influenza, there is still time before the peak of the season.

    “There is adequate stock of vaccines under the National Immunisation Program; I’m urging Queenslanders who are eligible and who have not had a flu vaccination this year to make booking an appointment a priority.

    “Although the best defence is to be vaccinated, there are also practical steps we can all take that reduce the likelihood of catching or spreading the flu.

    “Stay at home when sick, cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and wash your hands often in warm, soapy water for at least 15 seconds.”

    A government-funded flu vaccine is available for eligible Queenslanders, including:

    • children aged six months to less than five years
    • pregnant women during any stage of pregnancy
    • persons 65 years of age or older
    • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people 15 years of age or older
    • persons six months of age or older who have certain medical conditions which increase the risk of influenza disease complications

    All other Queenslanders can receive an influenza vaccination from their doctor or immunisation provider.

    ENDS

    Media contact:              Katharine Wright - 0428 957 903

    Background:

    Queensland Health has distributed:

    • more than 100,000 paediatric influenza vaccines for children aged six months to three years
    • more than 400,000 adult influenza vaccines for children aged three to less than five, and eligible adults
    • more than 650,000 enhanced influenza vaccines for people aged 65 or older.