School swine-flu plan in doubt

A PLAN to immunise 8500 high-school students in the Rockhampton region against a second wave of swine flu has been thrown into doubt.

Queensland Health asked Rockhampton Regional Council to organise the immunisation of all pupils in years 8 to 12.

But councillors received the request with little enthusiasm, even though they were told the council could turn a profit of about $33,000 for its involvement.

Cr Bill Ludwig said he found it bizarre that the council should be asked to become involved in a scheme that should be handled by two state-government departments.

“I just don’t understand what it has to do with us. It is not a core business of council to be involved in vaccinations. Why can’t Queensland Health and Education Queensland work together without asking the council to be a go-between?” he said.

Councillors voted to ask Queensland Health for more information before re-considering the request.

In a report to councillors, chief executive Alastair Dawson explained the council had been asked to deliver vaccinations at a rate of $10 a jab. He estimated it would cost about $43,000 to pay for an administration officer and six nurses for 20 days to administer the program.

Dr Christine Selvey, senior director of Queensland Health’s communicable diseases branch said a second pandemic of swine flu was expected by April or May.

“Our strategy is to introduce a high-school-based program and providers who currently deliver secondary schools vaccination programs have been approached about the feasibility of implementing a program at the beginning of term one,” she said.

But no decision had yet been made to proceed, she said.

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