Rockhampton pharmacist Paul Arnold says he has never been busier administering flu vaccinations.
Rockhampton pharmacist Paul Arnold says he has never been busier administering flu vaccinations.

Flu jabs uptake surges in Rocky

WHILE Queensland recorded no new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, it was what a Rockhampton pharmacist said that was music to the ears of health authorities.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Tuesday morning said it was vital Queenslanders got their flu shot this year to avoid the chance of getting COVID-19 and influenza at the same time.

Just hours later, pharmacist and managing partner of Chemist Warehouse Rockhampton, Paul Arnold, revealed people were heeding the advice.

Mr Arnold has 30 years’ experience as a pharmacist and has been doing in-store flu vaccinations at Chemist Warehouse in Rockhampton’s East St for the past five years.

He said the store was currently doing between 30 and 40 flu jabs per day - a number almost double the corresponding time in previous years.

“In all the years, I haven’t seen the uptake this strong, this early in the season,” Mr Arnold said.

“This year is by far the biggest uptake.

“In previous years at this time, we would have been doing 20 or so per day, so it’s up significantly.”

Mr Arnold said with the higher demand came the challenges of getting stock.

“We have to watch our bookings because we’ve got immunisers, myself being one of them, in store.

“We’ve just got to make sure we’ve got enough stock coming each week because we don’t want to overbook.

“Stock is okay, you know we would dearly love more of it, but it’s a production issue so we’ve got a set supply each week that we have to play with.”

Mr Arnold said this year, pharmacists could provide flu vaccinations for people aged 10 and up.

“So we’re seeing a lot more children this year, but we’re getting a huge age spread all the way through.”

People are able to book flu vaccinations in store at Chemist Warehouse and they can also do it online or by phone.

Health Minister Steven Miles said this year, all flu vaccines offered protection against four strains of influenza, including the vaccine for those aged over 65.

While Queensland recorded no new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, Ms Palaszczuk said the next two weeks were crucial.

She said Queensland had well and truly flattened the curve and if cases continued to be very low, there was “more of a proposition” to reopen schools further.



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