Well, it’s here and the latest figures show a consistent increase in flu notifications and percentage positive tests.
Executive Director of Queensland Health’s Communicable Diseases Branch Dr Sonya Bennett says there have been 10,831 flu notifications so far, this year and more expected in the coming weeks as the season ramps up.
The doctor says so far, this year, 78% (8,501) of notifications were typed as influenza A and the remaining 22 % (2,330) were influenza B.
Dr Bennett says there’s no better time than now to remind people to get their flu jab.
“It’s not too late; I’m urging all Queenslanders who have not had a flu vaccination this year to make booking an appointment a priority.”
Annual influenza vaccination is particularly recommended for children aged 6 months to under five years as young infants and children under the age of five years are at increased risk for hospitalization and increased morbidity and mortality following influenza.
This year’s vaccine protects against two ‘A’ and two ‘B’ strains of flu which have been the most prevalent around the world this year.
Another key is practice good hygiene.
Dr Bennett says it’s important we stay home when you’re sick, cover your nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing and wash your hands regularly.
“Combined with vaccination, these simply steps can reduce the likelihood of spreading the flu and combat the rise in flu notifications.”
Queenslander’s eligible for the government-funded influenza vaccine can access it from their doctor or immunization provider from today.
Those eligible for the funded vaccine are:
– pregnant women during any stage of pregnancy
– persons 65 years of age or older
– Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children aged 6 months to 5 years
– Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people 15 years of age or older
– persons 6 months of age or older who have certain medical conditions which increase the risk of influenza disease complications.
All other Queenslanders could purchase the vaccine from their doctor, immunization provider or local pharmacist.