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GPs innovate to vaccinate

Published:  06 May 2020

Townsville Hospital and Health Service has today applauded its primary healthcare partners in finding innovating new ways to vaccinate North Queenslanders against influenza.

From a drive-through vaccination clinic in Ayr, a tent in a car park and dedicated areas for over 65s, Townsville Hospital and Health Service chief executive Kieran Keyes said the innovation needed to be acknowledged.

“I couldn’t be more impressed with the way primary care providers are ensuring they make the flu vaccine available to our community in these unprecedented times,” Mr Keyes said.

“Last year we had a record 3579 North Queenslanders diagnosed with influenza and a repeat of that is the last thing we need this year.”

Mr Keyes said the Townsville Hospital and Health Service would be busy responding to the COVID-19 pandemic this year.

“Our community has been fantastic in following the advice about COVID-19, I really hope they do the same for influenza,” he said.

“We all have a role to play this year in keeping our family and friends safe from both COVID-19 and influenza.”

Cranbrook Medical general practitioner Dr Toni Weller said the message to the community was simple.

“GPs are open, we have the influenza vaccine in stock, and it is safe and easy to come and get it,” she said.

“What we’ve seen from the first wave of vaccine is that demand for the vaccination from the community is really high which is encouraging.

“If we don’t have any vaccine what we’ll do is put you on a call list for when we are restocked.”

Dr Weller said influenza is a serious viral illness.

“It is not the same as a common cold and can lead to life-threatening complications, particularly in the very young, pregnant women, the elderly and people with complex chronic diseases like heart disease or diabetes,” she said.

“The best protection against Influenza is vaccination.”

Vaccination is free to eligible Queenslanders including:

  • children aged between six months and five years
  • pregnant women during any stage of pregnancy
  • persons 65 years of age or older
  • all Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people 6 months of age and older
  • persons six months of age or older who have certain medical conditions which increase the risk of influenza disease complications.

Everyone else can purchase the seasonal flu vaccine from their doctor or immunisation provider for about the price of a movie ticket.

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