Lack of vaccinations behind Queensland worst flu season

ISABELLE SCHERER

flu shot

Child flu vaccination. Photo: Paidorama

Queensland Health has released their annual Statewide Weekly Influenza Surveillance Report.

The report showed there were 35,296 Queensland influenza cases in 2017, a 12,000 increase on last year’s figures.

The data showed nearly 3,000 children between the ages of 10 to 19 were diagnosed with the flu this year.

Fairholme College in Toowoomba was forced to shut down for two days during August because 20 per cent of students fell victim to a flu outbreak.

Research from the Australian Child Health Poll this year found a third of Queensland parents would not vaccinate their children against the flu, citing the main reason behind this was misconceptions about the safety of the vaccine.

Dr Ian Walsch from Brisbane’s Smart Clinic Family Medical Centre said Australian’s underestimate the seriousness of the flu and parents should vaccinate their children.

“Children are most likely to spread the flu to others – to their grandparents and classmates. It’s not too late to vaccinate if you haven’t already,” Dr Walsch said.

43 Brisbane aged care facilities experienced major flu outbreaks over July and August.

Kylie Ellerton, an aged care nurse from Blue Care in Wynnum, she says this year’s flu season was a tough one. 

“Its so hard, once one person catches it, we’re all put at risk it spreads so quickly,” Ms Ellerton said.

“Hopefully next year will be better because all aged care workers in Australia are going to get compulsory flu vaccines.”

Queensland Health this year delivered more than 800,000 free vaccines for high risk individuals.

 

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