QUEENSLANDERS are being urged to book in now for their flu shot before peak flu season arrives.
So far this year, Queensland Health has received 6,525 notifications of lab confirmed influenza, up from 3,318 at the same time last year.
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles says now is the best time to book in for a shot.
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“The best time to get vaccinated is sometime between mid-April through to the end of May, to ensure the best protection during the peak of the season,” Mr Miles said.
“That means you can start booking in with your GP or pharmacist now.
“I encourage everyone to start planning for their flu vaccination.
The Queensland Government provides free vaccines for children aged between 6 months and five years, pregnant women, people over the age of 65, and all Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people.
All other Queenslanders can purchase the vaccine from their doctor or immunisation provider.
Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said while it’s never too late to be vaccinated, timing should be considered.
“Everyone needs to be vigilant when it comes to the flu, as the complications can be deadly,” Ms Young said.
“The latest expert advice is that while protection from vaccination is expected to last for the whole season, the best protection is provided in the three to four months following vaccination.
“Flu season in Queensland is typically from June to September, with the peak usually in August.
“That’s why we recommend vaccinating sometime between mid-April through to the end of May, to ensure the best protection during the peak of the season.
“It’s also important for the public to be aware that the vaccine isn’t immediately effective – it generally takes 10 to 14 days to be fully protected after vaccination.
“Basic hygiene practices will also alleviate the spread of flu, such as proper hand washing, covering a cough with a tissue, and staying home when sick.”