Flu sea­son is upon us

Wide Bay Health an­nounces vac­cine roll­out for 2017

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - Adam McCleery adam.mccleery@cnbtimes.com.au

THE Wide Bay Pub­lic Health Unit is urg­ing Wide Bay and Burnett res­i­dents to access the 2017 flu vac­cine.

The 2017 flu quadri­va­lent vac­cine pro­tects against two “A” and two “B” strains of in­fluenza.

Those peo­ple most vul­ner­a­ble to the flu are 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 with all im­mu­ni­sa­tion providers ex­pected to be fully stocked by to­mor­row.

Those who are not el­i­gi­ble for the free vac­cine can still re­ceive a vac­ci­na­tion 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 stay­ing 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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