A total of over 90,000 people from Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay health districts have queued up for the vaccine against the human swine flu. Following the government warnings on the second wave of the pandemic, nearly 4000 have attended free weekend vaccination clinics at local schools. Another 87,000 visited their local GP for vaccinations.

Public health physician with the Sunshine Coast Public Health Unit, Dr Andrew Langley said the response to the warnings had been positive.

It has been a very good response with nearly 4000 people vaccinated during the first two weekends and the weekend clinics continuing until the end of the month, he said.

Across the state, over 30,000 have been immunized at 90 free weekend clinics conducted at schools. The total number of people who have received the vaccine statewide through all providers, including GPs and Queensland Health, is almost 690,000.

According to Queensland Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeannette Young, the widespread immunization and the positive response by many people are the best way to beat the second wave of the human swine flu virus.

She says it is vital that children and adolescents are immunized to help protect themselves and the broader community and that everyone in the family, above the age of six months should be vaccinated.

A second wave of swine flu is likely. This pandemic is still active in the northern hemisphere with the number of deaths reported globally by the World Health Organization increasing from 8,700 at the end of November to more than 16,400 in the latest report, said Dr Young.

Almost 12, 000 Queenslanders were confirmed with the disease, with more than 1,200 hospitalized and 163 admitted to intensive care, during the first wave of the pandemic last year. While there were 441 people who died were in the vulnerable groups, one-third had no known risk factors.

Dr Young warns the pandemic influenza virus is likely to be the predominant flu strain this winter and numbers could surge earlier than normal.

Further information can be found at www.health.qld.gov.au or call 13 43 25 84.