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RACGP applauds Queensland RSV immunisation rollout

Royal Australian College of GPs 3 mins read

The Royal Australian College of GPs (RACGP) has warmly welcomed the Queensland Government rolling out free infant RSV vaccinations to save lives.

It comes following reports of the Government rolling out a $31 million immunisation program to offer all Queensland families free immunisations for newborn babies against the potentially deadly virus. Recently, the College welcomed Western Australia becoming the first Australian jurisdiction to rollout an infant RSV immunisation and urged Tasmania to follow suit.

In 2024 so far, 6,000 cases of RSV have been recorded, which is nearly double the number of cases last year in the same period up to March 17.

RACGP Queensland Chair, Dr Cathryn Hester, described the immunisation program as a game changer for Queensland families.

“This RSV immunisation rollout will save lives,” she said.

“I applaud the Queensland Government for rolling out this free, lifesaving immunisation program for all families in every corner of the state. Babies aged six months and under are the ones most prone to developing severe symptoms including lung infections that can lead to hospitalisation. Even if they emerge from hospital with a clean bill of health, it’s an incredibly traumatic experience for any family to go through.

“Some families may not realise that RSV is the number one cause of hospitalisation for children aged five and under. Unfortunately, in Queensland unlike other states and territories, we have year-round cases of this virus as we don’t have predictable seasons. So, this only adds to the challenge, and makes today’s announcement even more welcome. I encourage all families to take advantage of this RSV immunisation, as well as free flu vaccines, and meningococcal B vaccines for kids and adolescents.”

Dr Hester said that the College eagerly awaited further details of the rollout.

“GPs will, as always when it comes to immunisations, play a vital role,” she said.

“It is my understanding that the program will be rolled out no later than 1 May this year, with newborns being offered a dose before leaving hospital. Babies born on or after the commencement date who don’t receive this jab in hospital will be able to access a dose up until they are eight months of age. In addition, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infants less than eight months, and babies with certain complex medical conditions aged eight months to 19 months, will be eligible. We also understand that in addition to the immunisations being distributed at birthing hospitals, other eligible infants and young children will be able to access the jab at some general practices.

“So, clearly GPs will have a key role to play here, and we look forward to learning more. For those families who do need to arrange an immunisation via a general practice, please be patient with practice staff as we sort through the details and figure this out. We can’t wait to help as many families as possible take advantage of this rollout and keep babies as safe as possible. This is a great day for Queensland.”

Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is common respiratory infection which mostly affects young children, including babies. The symptoms are usually mild and manageable at home; however, some children and adults can become extremely ill and require hospital treatment. There were 127,944 RSV cases reported last year Australia-wide, causing symptoms that ranged from mild to life-threatening.


RACGP spokespeople are available for interview.

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About the RACGP

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is the peak representative organisation for general practice, the backbone of Australia’s health system. We set the standards for general practice, facilitate lifelong learning for GPs, connect the general practice community, and advocate for better health and wellbeing for all Australians.

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