MORE PROTECTION: SB Care CEO Cheryl Dalton. Danielle Lowe

Increased protection for elderly this flu season

WITH flu season fast approaching new vaccines have been fast-tracked to help those who are most at risk.

Federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien said of the 1,100 flu related deaths in 2017, over 90 per cent of them were people aged over 65.

Following a recommendation from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee the National Immunisation Program is offering two new vaccines free of charge to those over 65 years old starting in April.

"The new vaccines, Fluad® and Fluzone High Dose® - were registered in Australia and funded by the Coalition Government to provide increased protection and help save lives. They will be available to more than 3 million Australians aged 65 years and over," Mr O'Brien said.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said the vaccines are specifically made for elderly citizens.

"These new trivalent (three strain) vaccines work in over 65s by generating a strong immune response and are more effective for this age group in protecting against influenza," Minister Hunt said.

The South Burnett Senior Citizens Association (SB Care) is a community organisation assisting with the welfare of older people in the South Burnett.

CEO of SB Care Cheryl Dalton is pleased with this initiative.

"Already anyone over 65 can access flu vaccines for free....but it's great that these are different and specifically target older people,” Ms Dalton said.

"Anything that can help people maintain their health and independence at an older age is a step in the right direction.

"As you get older your body weakens and of course then your susceptibility to falling ill is higher.”

Ms Dalton said the more protection vulnerable groups are given access to the better their chances of avoiding illness are.

South Burnett

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