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Free tetanus shots offered to those in cyclone Debbie clean-up zone

The Queensland Government will make tetanus and tetanus booster shots available free of charge to those affected by or cleaning up after ex-tropical cyclone Debbie and its aftermath.

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said many people involved in the clear up or who were planning on lending a hand may be concerned they may not have adequate protection against tetanus.

“While most Australians have been appropriately vaccinated, we understand some people may be worried,” Dr Young said.

“That's why it’s really important for people who haven't had a tetanus booster to ensure their vaccinations are up to date.”

The free tetanus shots are available for anyone in flood affected areas, and GPs in these areas will have vaccines provided by Queensland Health. While the vaccine is free, there may a cost for the consultation.

Dr Young urged those generous volunteers participating in the clean-up effort, as well as those in communities have affected by the floodwaters, to ensure they are on the side of caution.

“If you don’t know if you are up to date, then check with your local health provider,” Dr Young said.

Tetanus is caused by bacteria commonly found soil, dust and manure.

Exposure to these elements will be heightened for people participating in the flood clean-up, along with the risk of cuts and sores from the manual labour involved.

Wounds that favour the growth of tetanus include open fractures, deep penetrating wounds, bites and splinters.

Anyone who sustains injuries that could be contaminated with floodwater or mud should apply first aid and seek medical advice.

Those seeking further information can call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) or simply visit their local GP.

Media contact: +61 7 3234 1439

Last updated: 4 April 2017