AMA Queensland applauds Health Minister Shannon Fentiman for her early announcement that flu jabs will be free for all Queenslanders in the 2024 influenza season.
“The influenza vaccine is a safe and effective way to prevent people getting seriously ill or dying,” AMA Queensland President Dr Maria Boulton said.
“Unfortunately, cost of living pressures can lead people to put off getting the vaccine, leading to more infections and illness in the community.
“For the past two years, the Queensland government has led the nation in making flu jabs free – but only once the flu season was well underway.
“We have worked with the Minister to bring certainty around this program and make flu jabs free from the start of the flu season, not halfway through.
“This means people will not put off getting their jab early in the hope of getting a free jab later.
“The Minister’s office has informed us that the process next year will be the same as this year. General practices will need to order their vaccines and will be reimbursed by Queensland Health.
“We will continue to advocate for the influenza vaccine to be made free for all Australians under the National Immunisation Program.
“In the interim, we call on all other state and territory governments to follow Queensland’s lead and make the flu jab free for everyone.”
- Queensland reported 68,382 lab-confirmed influenza cases this year (1 January to 18 October) – almost three times the 5-year average
- This was the highest rate in the nation – 1,278 notifications per 100,000 population, followed by NSW (1,115 per 100,000 population)
- 4,910 Queenslanders were hospitalised with flu this year
- Queensland’s vaccination rate is below the national rate in every age group except over 65 years
- Only one in three Queenslanders had a flu vaccine in 2023