Menu Icon Search

Winter is coming – get your flu and RSV shots for infants

April 30, 2024

The 2024 Free Influenza Vaccination Program is now running. All Queensland residents over the age of 6 months can access the influenza vaccine for free in 2024.

The program is available to Queensland residents only, including residents without a Medicare card.

The program will reimburse vaccination service providers for privately purchased vaccines administered to Queenslanders not eligible under the National Immunisation Program (NIP).

GPs do not have to change the way they currently bill for influenza vaccination consultation as a function of this program.

The program will finish on Monday, 30 September 2024.

As of Sunday, 21 April, there have been 811 cases of influenza (lab confirmed) in the Darling Downs and West Moreton region in 2024.

The free flu vaccine program has been rolled out to manage the number of hospitalisations this flu season, with over 700 people having already been hospitalized due to serious illness from influenza in 2024. Flu season typically runs from May to October, with most cases recorded in August.

“We’re encouraging everyone in our region to get vaccinated against the flu before winter – especially pregnant people, children aged between six months and five years, and those aged 65 and over," said Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN’s GP Liaison Officer, Dr Tanusha Ramaloo.

“The free vaccines are an easy process and can be booked at your local GPs and pharmacies,” said Dr Ramaloo.

In March, it was also announced that Queensland Health is introducing a Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Immunisation Program for all infants less than 8 months of age and infants less than 20 months who have complex medical conditions.

RSV is the most common cause of early childhood lower respiratory tract infection. It can cause particularly severe illness in infants in their first year of life (especially under 3 months), infants with complex medical problems and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Nirsevimab (brand name Beyfortus) is a monoclonal antibody with studies demonstrating 70-80% protection against RSV lower respiratory tract infection for up to five months.

It provides ‘passive immunisation’ in contrast to ‘active immunity’ provided by vaccines and infection. It is synthetically derived and not a blood product so doesn’t carry the associated risks.

From Monday, 15 April, Nirsevimab will be provided to all infants at birth OR on discharge from hospital.

From Monday, 29 April, parents and carers of eligible infants and young children can access nirsevimab from their routine immunisation provider.

As there is limited supply of nirsevimab, parents and carers wishing to access this immunisation are encouraged to contact their routine immunisation provider to book an appointment ahead of time.

Click to read more about the RSV Immunisation Program.