Mackay Hospital and Health Service is once again supporting Queensland Health’s influenza campaign by encouraging all staff to roll up their sleeves and vaccinate against the 2019 flu season.
Clinical Nurse Consultant for Infection Prevention and Management for Mackay Hospital and Health Service Jenny Seymour said from April 29 the Health Service’s flu vaccination campaign aims to immunise more 75% of its health workforce in the next month.
“To help protect patients, staff are offered a free influenza vaccination each year to help protect vulnerable patients and visitors to the hospital,” Jenny said.
“Being vaccinated gives you the single best protection against influenza by building immunity to the virus and helping to prevent transmission of the virus to other people.”
Influenza is a highly contagious and potentially serious disease that can be spread through coughing and sneezing.
Ms Seymour said each year the influenza vaccine reflected the circulating strains, providing the best protection against current strains of flu.
“This year will see the addition of a new A and B type strain for the southern hemisphere influenza vaccine,” she said.
“If you are sick try to avoid public places and stay home to stop the spread of influenza”.
“Remember the importance of covering your cough or sneeze and hand washing before and after eating. We also recommend people use a tissue and discard it after use rather than using a reusable handkerchief.”
Queensland Health provides the following ‘at risk’ groups with free Influenza vaccination each year:
- All children aged from 6 months to less than 5 years of age
- All pregnant women (at any stage of pregnancy)
- All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over
- All individuals aged 6 months and over with medical conditions predisposing them to severe influenza
- All individuals >65 years.
Please see your GP for these vaccinations. The vaccine is safe for pregnant women and babies six months and older, as well as the broader community.
“For pregnant women the vaccine offers protection to their baby for the first six months of their life which is very important.”
So far this year laboratories have confirmed 8281 cases of influenza in Queensland, significantly more than at the same time in 2018.
“There have already been some cases in the Mackay HHS with 386 laboratory confirmed cases (year to date),” she said.
“The increased number of notifications already this year may suggest that people are being more vigilant and seeking medical attention early when they experience symptoms.”