After two years of reduced flu infections due to COVID lockdowns, flu immunity levels in the community are low and Australia is bracing for a worse-than-normal flu season in 2022 (Photo: DDH)

May 16, 2022

South Burnett residents are being encouraged to protect themselves against influenza as the cooler months start to set in.

After two years of lower-than-average flu infections during the COVID pandemic, flu immunity in the community is now very low.

Health officials are concerned this reduced immunity could usher in a horror flu season

So far this year there have been 39 laboratory confirmed cases of influenza in the Darling Downs Health region.

Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council reported last Thursday there were a number of flu cases in the community, urging residents to stay home if unwell and for the elderly or vulnerable to wear masks in crowded places.

Darling Downs Health spokesperson Dr Liam Flynn said the number of cases in the Health region was slightly up in comparison to previous years, which is why it was important to get the flu vaccine.

“The best way to avoid getting sick is to talk to your GP about receiving a flu vaccination,” Dr Flynn said.

“Now is a great time to protect yourself and your loved ones, so you’re immunised before the flu season arrives.

“Flu season in Queensland typically peaks in August, so I’d encourage all members of our community to visit their GP or pharmacist and get the influenza jab soon.

“The flu hasn’t gone away, and we still face the possibility of a serious flu season this year.”

Influenza is a very contagious, viral infection that can affect the upper airways and lungs.

In addition to receiving the vaccination, there are also some simple steps that people can take to help fight the flu.

These include washing  hands, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home if you’re sick.

Some members of the community are more at risk from influenza and its complications.

These people are eligible to receive the vaccination for free under the National Immunisation Program.

This includes people aged 65 years and over, pregnant women, all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over six months of age, children from six months to five years of age and people with certain medical conditions.

  • To find out where you can receive a flu vaccination, talk to your local GP or pharmacist.

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