All Queenslanders will be offered a free flu vaccination as the state faces a severe outbreak of Influenza A.
COVID-19 measures had reduced flu cases to almost nil since 2020 but more than 4,000 cases have already been reported in 2022.
Cases in Queensland are doubling every week increasing from 1,848 to 4,282 in the past week.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she had “taken the unprecedented decision to protect Queenslanders” because Influenza A was predominantly a virus impacting young and old age groups more than others; vaccine rates and immunity levels are low; and case numbers were climbing faster and earlier than expected.
Most importantly all of the impacts of COVID-19 including absenteeism, interruptions to supply chains and health services will be duplicated and exacerbated by a simultaneous outbreak of Influenza A.
“We have seen how difficult it has been to fight COVID-19,” the Premier said.
“To fight COVID-19 and the flu is doubly hard.
“That’s why we are making these flu shots free for everyone.”
Acting Chief Health Officer Dr Peter Aitken said time is of the essence.
“Influenza A is more severe than Influenza B,” Dr Aitken said.
“It leads to greater numbers needing to go to hospital.
Vaccination rates for children six months to less than five years of age is just 6 per cent, he said.
“I urge parents of all age groups to please take up this offer of a free vaccine,” he said.
The vaccines will be available free from GPs and pharmacies from now until the end of June.
All Queenslanders should speak with their local GP or pharmacist to see which vaccine is available to them.