We’re being warned to get our flu jabs now, ahead of another busy flu season on the Gold Coast.
Gold Coasters are able to book in with their pharmacist or GP for the vaccine, and there are various free clinics available throughout the year as well.
Free flu vaccines are available to those over 65 years old, as well as pregnant women, all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from six months to five years and from 15 years plus, and any individual over 6 months old who may be predisposed to severe influenza.
Now 16 and 17 year olds can visit a pharmacy to get their jabs, without parental consent.
Until recently, people had to be 18 years or older.
Queensland’s Health Minister Steven Miles is urging those to book in with their GP or pharmacist as soon as possible, so they don’t end up in the emergency room this year.
“It’s important for Queenslanders to get vaccinated every year because it’s the best way to protect yourself from the flu.
“Flu viruses change frequently, which is why it’s so important for Queenslanders to get vaccinated every year.
“While it’s never too late to vaccinate for influenza, I urge Gold Coasters not to delay in having their flu jab,” Mr Miles said.
Courtney Potts knows too well how serious the flu can be, after an emergency visit to Robina Hospital with her daughter Maddison, who was two years old at the time.
“We were away on holiday and Maddy kept having little coughing fits and stopped eating.
“She just wasn’t herself and had high temps, so we came back home.
“Maddie went downhill quickly though, began vomiting and was almost unresponsive.
“As soon as a rash developed, we went to Robina Hospital and they took us straight in to a private room.
“They gave Maddie antibiotics and vaccinations straight away and took swabs on the spot.
“Everyone was amazing, especially as it was New Year’s Eve.
“We were transferred via ambulance to Gold Coast University Hospital where we stayed for two nights,” Ms Potts said.
Children’s Emergency Department Staff Specialist Doctor Graham Jay said Maddie’s story illustrated just how serious the flu can be, particularly in the very young.
“Flu is serious viral illness.
“It is not the same as a common cold and can lead to serious complications, particularly in the very young, elderly and people with complex chronic diseases.
“Each year, the impact of the flu is significant in our community, and we see that reflected in the increase in presentations to our hospitals during flu season.
“Nearly 450 people have been admitted to hospital with influenza since last April, with 32 of those requiring ICU admissions,” said Dr Jay.