Beaudesert doctor reminds residents to book in for a flu jab.

JAB: Scientists say the flu shot is the best way to avoid getting sick this winter.
JAB: Scientists say the flu shot is the best way to avoid getting sick this winter.

A BEAUDESERT doctor has reminded Scenic Rim residents to book in for their flu shot soon.

GP and obstetrician Jaime Hurley from Beaudesert Medical Centre said it was important to prepare for peak flu season.

"It is important to get vaccinated every year because the vaccine is based on the predicted prevalent strains of influenza, which change every year," she said.

"The best time to get vaccinated is sometime between now and the end of May, so that even if you are exposed to a flu virus your immune system will be ready for it and you will be less likely to become severely ill."

Dr Hurley said flu vaccination was especially important for people at higher risk of developing complications, including children aged six months to five years, pregnant women, people over the age of 65 and all Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people.

"Pregnant women can safely have the vaccine at any stage of pregnancy and it can also provide some protection for their babies for up to six months," she said. 

Dr Hurley said flu vaccines were available at local pharmacies but she recommended booking in with a GP.

"We don't have the specific vaccines for children under five but they will be available within the next week or two," she said.

"Booking your vaccination with your doctor will provide an opportunity for a general health check too."

State health minister Steven Miles said the government provided free vaccines for high risk groups. 

"These vaccines are now on their way to providers and eligible Queenslanders should book in to get their free jab from mid to late April," he said.

All other Queenslanders could buy the vaccine from their doctor or pharmacy.

Queensland Health said it had so far received 6,525 notifications of lab confirmed influenza, up from 3,318 at the same time last year.

Queensland's chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said while it's never too late to be vaccinated, timing should be considered.

"The latest expert advice is that while protection from vaccination is expected to last for the whole season, the best protection is provided in the three to four months following vaccination," she said.

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

"That's why we recommend vaccinating sometime between mid-April through to the end of May, to ensure the best protection during the peak of the season.

"It's also important for the public to be aware that the vaccine isn't immediately effective - it generally takes 10 to 14 days to be fully protected after vaccination.

"Everyone needs to be vigilant when it comes to the flu, as the complications can be deadly.

"The message remains the same: get vaccinated every year because it is the best way of protecting yourself against the flu.

"Basic hygiene practices will also alleviate the spread of flu, such as proper hand washing, covering a cough with a tissue, and staying home when sick."

The Australian Health Department said this year there was a new A strain (H3N2) and a new strain for the B Victoria linage.

Influenza virus strains included in the 2019 vaccines were:

  • A (H1N1): an A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09 like virus
  • A (H3N2): an A/Switzerland/8060/2017 (H3N2) like virus
  • B: a B/Colorado/06/2017 like virus (not included in the trivalent vaccine)
  • B: a B/Phuket/3073/2013 like virus

They said four different quadrivalent influenza vaccine brands were available for people aged under 65 this year.