HELPING LOCALS: Dr Josiah Manteit.
HELPING LOCALS: Dr Josiah Manteit.

High demand for flu shots in Bundaberg

BUNDABERG residents are wasting no time in getting their flu shot, with medical practices across the region reporting a high demand for the annual vaccination.

As stipulated by Queensland Health, influenza (the flu) is a highly contagious, acute viral infection, often caused by type A or B influenza viruses that infect the upper airways and lungs.

It is not the common cold.

Encouraging everyone to get their flu vaccination this year, Grace Family Practice GP Dr Josiah Manteit said the flu clinics the practice had been running were “very full”.

While he couldn’t provide exact numbers, he hazard a guess at close to 200 per week, and that’s just the vaccinations funded by the government.

Dr Manteit said in previous years they normally have stock left over, but they can’t keep up this year.

“I think that more people than ever are getting it,” he said.

“Add that to our social distancing and I would hope that the flu season should be much less than usual.”

And it’s not just Grace Family Practice who have been dealing with a high demand for the flu vaccination.

Central Medical Bundaberg practice manager Kiara Caughley said their practice had experienced very high demand for the flu injection,

She said they had been run off their feet trying to keep up, with “most weeks running out before delivery of the next weeks quota”.

Ms Caughley said its been the same every year, with a high demand for the vaccination from their patients.

Queensland Health recommend an annual influenza vaccination for all people aged 6 months and older, with free vaccines will be available to eligible Queenslanders from mid-April.

Influenza vaccines are funded under the National Immunisation Program for all children from 6 months to less than 5 years of age, all adults 65-years-old and over, pregnant women, all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over and individuals aged 6 months and older with medical conditions which increase the risk of influenza disease complications.

The Premier said it was vital Queenslanders get their flu shot this year to avoid the chance of getting COVID-19 and flu at the same time.

“Every year, we encourage Queenslanders to roll up their sleeves and protect themselves against the flu, and this year this is more important than ever,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“Sadly, we know the flu can be deadly, and with the ongoing threat COVID-19 has on our communities, it is so important we do everything possible to reduce the risk of contracting both illnesses at the same time.”

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said those not eligible for the free vaccine should still book an appointment with their GP, pharmacist immuniser, or as part of their workplace program (if available) to get vaccinated.

“Although the flu vaccine does not protect against COVID-19, it can reduce the severity and spread of influenza, which may make a person more susceptible to other respiratory illnesses like COVID-19,” Dr Young said.

“It is also important to get vaccinated to prevent possible influenza-related hospitalisations at a time when the pandemic may put unprecedented pressure on our public health system.

“Flu season in Queensland is typically from June to September, with the peak usually in August.”