Chief Health Officer Dr John Gerrard (Photo: Qld Health)

October 26, 2023

Queensland Health has issued a warning to Queenslanders aged 65 and older to make sure they are up-to-date with their COVID-19 booster shots following a spike in hospital admissions.

There are now 146 people in Queensland hospitals with the virus, twice the number a fortnight ago.

Chief Health Officer Dr John Gerrard said the rise in cases was largely due to low booster rates in older Queenslanders and possibly the emergence of a new BA.2.86 variant, known as Pirola.

He said Queenslanders who were older, or who have medical conditions that put them at higher risk, should get a booster vaccine shot if they have not had one in 2023.

“We are seeing a clear increase in COVID-19 transmission in Queensland at the moment,” Dr Gerrard said.

“The number of people hospitalised with the virus has doubled over the past two weeks and I expect hospital admissions will rise in the coming week.

“Now is a good time to get a COVID-19 booster if you are aged 65 or over and haven’t had one in 2023.

“This is even more important for people over 75 years if it has been more than six months since your last dose.”

Dr Gerrard said it was essential Queenslanders did not become complacent about the risk of COVID-19.

“COVID-19 has not established a predictable seasonal pattern as yet and it continues to mutate, which is why we all need to be vigilant,” he said.

“Vaccination remains our best protection against COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

“In addition to getting vaccinated, Queenslanders need to stay home when sick and regularly wash their hands to minimise the spread of COVID-19.”

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The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports 19,510 people have died with or from Covid infections from the start of the pandemic through to July 31, 2023.

Covid was the underlying cause of death for 15,460 (79.2 per cent) of the fatalities.

Chronic cardiac conditions were the most common pre-existing chronic condition for those who had Covid certified as the underlying cause of death, the ABS states.


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