FLU VACCINATION: When to get yours

QUEENSLAND Health advises people to receive their flu vaccination at an appropriate time to ensure the best protection against influenza this flu season.   Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles said it was vitally important to be vaccinated against flu each year, and while the vaccine offers protection for the whole season, the best protection was provided in the three to four months following vaccination.    "Flu season in Queensland is typically from June to September, with the peak usually in August, and we want people to start planning now as to when they should get vaccinated," he said.   "May is the best time to book in for vaccination to ensure the best protection throughout the flu season.   "I made the mistake of not vaccinating at all last year, and I caught the flu and ended up quite ill in hospital.   "While I'm extremely keen to get my jab this year, I'll be waiting until closer to the peak of flu season to ensure I have the best chance of protection.   "It generally takes 10 to 14 days to be fully protected after vaccination."   Queensland's Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said Queensland Health will announce when the 2018 influenza vaccine has been distributed to all immunisation providers.    "Each year, the flu vaccine is developed to address the strains of influenza which are expected to be circulating in the flu season," she said.   "The 2018 government-funded vaccine will be available around mid-April for all children 6 months to less than 5 years, all adults 65 years and older, all pregnant women, all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 15 years and older, and all individuals 6 months and older with medical conditions predisposing them to severe influenza.   "Some providers are now advertising influenza vaccination in the private market - it is recommended that Queenslanders discuss the timing of their vaccination with their immunisation provider."    Dr Young said 2017 was one of the worst flu seasons on record with more than 56,000 cases of flu confirmed in Queensland.   "The large numbers from 2017 don't necessarily mean there will be as many cases this year, however, it does mean everyone needs to play a part and everyone needs to be vigilant when it comes to the flu," she said.   "Our message remains the same: get vaccinated every year because it is the best way of protecting yourself against the flu.   "We should also not ignore basic practices such as proper hand washing, covering a cough with a tissue or our arm, and staying home when we're sick."  

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