Thousands of flu cases prompt call for vaccinations

Man receiving injection

With the number of laboratory-confirmed flu cases already well ahead of the number confirmed by the same time last year, Queensland Health said it was a good reminder for people to get their flu shots.

From January 1 to May 14 in 2016, there were 3367 confirmed flu cases in Queensland. In the same period this year there have been 440 more cases including 527 public hospital admissions, including 47 admissions to ICU.

Queensland Health communicable diseases branch acting executive director Dr Heidi Carroll said now is the best time to get vaccinated ahead of peak flu season in August and September.

"Now is really the right time to be going out there and getting vaccinated because we now are coming into the winter season," she said.

"It takes up to about two weeks for the vaccine to start working to its maximum potential so if you were getting vaccinated now and it takes two weeks that's bringing us into June, into the winter season already."

The vaccine is recommended and free for more vulnerable members of the community, including pregnant women and people aged over 75, but Dr Carroll said everyone over the age of six months should think about getting the flu shot.

"We just want people to be mindful that not only is it protecting themselves from getting sick, but it's protecting those vulnerable in the community as well," she said.

For those who say they always get sick after getting a flu shot, Dr Carroll said it was possible to get another virus at the same time (this year's vaccine covers four different flu strains), but the vaccine would still help.

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