Queensland Health is advising that we need to ‘think’ through when we get our flu shots this year – It’s important, they say, to ensure we’re not racing in to grab a shot too early or that we don’t leave it too late.
While Queensland Health is saying last year really did prove that it’s vitally important to be vaccinated against flu each year, and while the vaccine offers protection for the whole season, the best protection is provided in the 3 to 4 months following vaccination.
Queensland Health is rolling out the vaccine now and says it will announce when the 2018 influenza vaccine has been distributed to all immunisation providers.
Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young says Flu season in Queensland is typically from June to September, with the peak usually in August.
“It generally takes 10 to 14 days to be fully protected after vaccination. Each year, the flu vaccine is developed to address the strains of influenza which are expected to be circulating in the flu season.”
“The 2018 government-funded vaccine will be available around mid-April for all children 6 months to less than 5 years, all adults 65 years and older, all pregnant women, all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 15 years and older, and all individuals 6 months and older with medical conditions predisposing them to severe influenza.”
Dr Young says while some providers are now advertising influenza vaccination in the private market – it is recommended that Queenslanders discuss the timing of their vaccination with their immunisation provider.”
Dr Young says 2017 was one of the worst flu seasons on record with more than 56,000 cases of flu confirmed in Queensland.
“The large numbers from 2017 don’t necessarily mean there will be as many cases this year, however, it does mean everyone needs to play a part and everyone needs to be vigilant when it comes to the flu.”
“Our message remains the same: get vaccinated every year because it is the best way of protecting yourself against the flu.”
And if you do notice you’re coming down with it, remember not to ignore basic practices such as proper hand washing, covering a cough with a tissue or our arm, and staying home when sick.