After the worst flu season in recent years, the Queensland Government has announced a new vaccination program for children aged six months to five years old.
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick says up to 300,000 children across Queensland would be eligible for a free flu vaccination next year.
“Following the spike in flu cases this year, the Palaszczuk Government is investing $1 million so young children can access a potentially lifesaving vaccine for free. Of all the vaccine preventable diseases, influenza causes the most hospital admissions of children under five years old.”
Children under five have some of the highest rates of influenza and associated complications, and this year has been no different. So far, this year 544 children aged under five admitted to public hospitals have tested positive for influenza.
THE Minister says children contribute greatly to the spread of the flu in the community, and the risks of serious complications for kids who contract the flu are high.
“That’s why we’ve developed this program, to ensure young children have the best chance of protection against influenza.
“Queensland will also push for inclusion of the free flu vaccine for under-fives on the national immunization program.”
Queensland has this year endured its worst flu season in many years, with more than 52,000 lab-confirmed cases of influenza have been recorded so far, this year, and more than 5600 patients admitted to hospital have tested positive to influenza.
The free vaccine will be made available through general practices and other childhood immunization providers next year.
A childhood immunization awareness campaign next year will provide parents and carers with details about recommended vaccinations for children under five, including the free influenza vaccine program.