The Queensland Government is hoping to prevent a repeat of last year’s influenza epidemic by extending its free flu vaccines, to children under the age of five.

The Government-funded vaccines will be distributed late April. The free vaccine is already available for pregnant women, over-65s, people with chronic disease and indigenous Australians over 15.

More than 56,000 cases of influenza were reported in Queensland last year, making it one of the worst seasons on record.

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Doctor Jeannette Young said Queenslanders should consider getting their vaccination sooner rather than later.

“For most people, the vaccine has its highest degree of coverage for four to five months, and it takes around 10 days to two weeks to develop immunity,” Dr Young said.

“So given our flu season starts around June and peaks in August, we recommend people get vaccinated towards the end of April through to mid-May.”

House Call Doctor encouraged Queenslanders to see their local GP if they began to experience flu-like symptoms.

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