Public Health Unit urges locals to get up-to-date with immunisations

Public Health Unit urges locals to get up-to-date with immunisations

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Get up-to-date with your immunisations this World Immunisation Week (24-30th April)

It's World Immunisation Week (24-30th April) and the Sunshine Coast Public Health Unit is reminding locals to check they're up-to-date with their vaccinations. 

“With whooping cough and RSV at high levels on the Sunshine Coast, and flu season approaching, we especially want to promote immunisations for these respiratory diseases. They spread easily and can cause serious disease and death," said Advanced Epidemiologist Anne Maree Baldwin.

The team advises residents to book an appointment with their GP or pharmacist, to help protect both themselves and their families. 

"Safe, effective vaccines are available, and often free," she said. 

Ms Baldwin said whooping cough has been spreading among children and teenagers.

"This is particularly concerning as infants younger than 6 months are at high risk of severe disease, too young to be vaccinated, and often in contact with older children."

Whooping cough immunisation is free for children, adolescents (available in the School Immunisation Program) and pregnant women (each pregnancy).

Whooping cough immunisation is also recommended at 50 and 65 years of age, and a 10-yearly booster for healthcare workers, early childhood educators and carers, and people in close contact with infants.

Ms Baldwin said RSV(respiratory syncytial virus) is the most common cause of hospitalisation for infants and young children.

For the first time, a new free RSV (pre-formed antibody) immunisation is available in Queensland and gives immediate protection.

This immunisation is for newborns (in hospital) and infants born since February 2024, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children younger than 8 months, and others younger than 20 months with certain medical conditions (from GPs – phone ahead to check availability).

Influenza immunisation is currently free for Queensland residents and Ms Baldwin urges people to not delay getting the vaccine.

"It takes two weeks for your body to develop protective antibodies after this immunisation, and flu has spread rapidly in May in recent years," she said.

Influenza immunisation is for everyone (aged 6 months or older), and especially important for people at higher risk of severe outcomes including young children, older people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, pregnant women, and people with certain medical conditions.

Ms Baldwin says residents shouldn't forget their COVID-19 vaccines. 

"People aged 75 years or older need to be vaccinated every 6 months, and those aged 65 to 74 years and most with severe immunocompromise annually, to maintain protection. Free vaccination is also available annually for other adults."

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Last updated: April 2024