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Health service urges flu vaccination in North Burnett

FLU SEASON: At-risk groups can access government-funded vaccinations.
FLU SEASON: At-risk groups can access government-funded vaccinations. Iain Curry

THE Wide Bay Public Health Unit is urging residents of the Wide Bay and Burnett to access the 2017 flu vaccine which will be made from doctors and immunisation providers.

The 2017 flu quadrivalent vaccine protects against two 'A' and two 'B' strains of influenza with those people most vulnerable to the flu being eligible for government-funded vaccine.

WBHHS Public Health Physician Dr Margaret Young said vaccination was the best defence against the flu and very important for people who belong to an at-risk group.

"Groups eligible for a free vaccine include anyone aged 65 and above,” Dr Young said.

"Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged six months up to their fifth birthday and aged 15 and over, women at any stage of pregnancy, and anyone with a chronic medical condition that predisposes them to influenza complications.”

This includes severe asthma, lung or heart disease, low immunity or diabetes.

"If you are in any of those groups, it is important that you visit your doctor or immunisation provider to access your free shot,” Dr Young said.

Distribution for the vaccine began on April 10 of this year with all immunisation providers expected to be fully stocked by April 21.

Those who are not eligible for the free vaccine can still receive a shot from their doctor or immunisation provider.

"I strongly urge flu vaccination for everyone working in childcare and early education, the health sector, residential and aged care, poultry and pig industries," Dr Young said.

Dr Young also urged people to take active steps to prevent the spread of flu such as frequently washing your hands, using tissues and if possible stay one metre away from others with flu-like symptoms.

"And stay at home when you are sick,” Dr Young said.

Full protection from influenza only occurs 10 to 14 days after vaccination.


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