Get vac­ci­nated to avoid flu

Western Times - - NEWS -

THE flu sea­son is ap­proach­ing and south-west Queens­land res­i­dents are be­ing en­cour­aged to get their jabs and avoid be­com­ing one of this year’s in­fluenza statis­tics.

Dar­ling Downs and South West Pub­lic Health Unit di­rec­tor Dr Penny Hutchin­son said the aim of this year’s in­dige­nous in­fluenza pro­gram, Tackle Flu Be­fore it Tack­les You, was to boost im­mu­ni­sa­tion cov­er­age rates across the re­gion.

The pro­gram starts on May 2.

“To im­prove ac­cess to the in­fluenza vac­cine, in par­tic­u­lar for the younger Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der tar­get au­di­ence, im­mu­ni­sa­tion clin­ics will be con­ducted in Ed­u­ca­tion Queens­land fa­cil­i­ties, as well as at health fa­cil­i­ties and other venues across the south-west as part of the cam­paign,’’ she said.

“As in pre­vi­ous years, to en­cour­age par­tic­i­pa­tion we will be pro­vid­ing a free t-shirt dec­o­rated with in­dige­nous art­work to those who are vac­ci­nated as part of the Tackle the Flu Be­fore it Tack­les You cam­paign.

“This year’s t-shirt will have art­work by Toowoomba-based artist David McCarthy, who won the com­pe­ti­tion to dec­o­rate the shirt.’’

The sea­sonal flu vac­cine will be avail­able through your lo­cal doc­tor, hospi­tal, pri­mary health care clinic or in­dige­nous health ser­vice, as well as at the Tackle the Flu Be­fore it Tack­les You clin­ics.

Clin­ics in the south-west will be held in the fol­low­ing lo­ca­tions on these dates:

■ St Ge­orge: Thurs­day, May 4, from 3–5pm at St Ge­orge State High School.

■ Charleville: Tues­day, May 9, time to be con­firmed, at Charleville State High School.

■ Cun­na­mulla: Wed­nes­day, May 10, time to be con­firmed, at the Cun­na­mulla Shire Hall.

Dr Hutchin­son said full pro­tec­tion against in­fluenza was achieved within 10–14 days fol­low­ing vac­ci­na­tion, so good hy­giene was still im­por­tant both be­fore and af­ter some­one had their flu jab.

“Be­tween be­ing vac­ci­nated and tak­ing sim­ple health and hy­giene mea­sures, all south-west res­i­dents can min­imise their risks of catch­ing the flu this year,’’ she said.

“It’s just a few min­utes of your time and it saves you from the risk of pos­si­bly be­com­ing very sick if you catch the flu.

“You need to be vac­ci­nated ev­ery year to keep your­self pro­tected be­cause flu strains change an­nu­ally and you will not be im­mune to new strains, while your im­mu­nity to older strains also re­duces over time.’’

The vac­cine is free to those peo­ple in the at-risk groups un­der the Na­tional Im­mu­ni­sa­tion Pro­gram.

JAB: Dr Penny Hutchin­son, with the winning art­work for this year’s Tackle Flu in­dige­nous in­fluenza pro­gram, and artist David McCarthy, who cre­ated the art­work.

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