Thousands of Queenslanders have rolled up their sleeves to receive free flu vaccinations as the state battles the spread of the virulent infection.
Infections rates among teenagers have spiked after the return from school holidays as authorities plead with people to get vaccinated – particularly as the severe B strain takes hold.
Health Minister Shannon Fentiman said there had been a noted increase in flu infections in patients aged five to 17.
“Even though flu rates generally are now decreasing … we’ve seen 114, five to 17-year-olds hospitalised in the last few weeks,” she said.
The vaccination program in Queensland will go until the end of August.
Ms Fentiman acknowledged this season’s strain was particularly severe with young people extremely vulnerable.
“A lot of young people won’t have any natural immunity because the last time we had an outbreak of influenza B was in 2019,” she said.
“We’ve already surpassed the rates of influenza B in Queenslanders since that time.”
As the countdown to the Ekka continues to opening day on August 12, Ms Fentiman said it was vital for people to get protected.