Tetanus vaccines are part of the national immunisation programme for children and adolescents. Adults should also receive a booster dose of a tetanus-containing vaccine if they are 50 years of age and have not received a booster dose in the past 10 years. Adults aged over 65 years are recommended to receive a booster dose of vaccine containing tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis if their last dose was more than 10 years ago.
Any wound that has been exposed to floodwaters or mud should be considered tetanus prone. If a child has a tetanus prone wound, they need to see their GP. If an adult has a tetanus prone wound and has not received a booster in the last five years they need to see their GP to receive that booster.
Any children or adolescents who have not followed the recommended immunisation programme schedule or any adults who are uncertain about their vaccination status should see their GP if they are planning on being involved in the flood clean up efforts. If they sustain a wound in this effort, they definitely need to be reviewed by their GP with regard to their tetanus vaccination status and to see if the wound has become infected. However, antibiotics do not protect against tetanus disease.
The Queensland Health Immunisation programme usually only accepts orders for vaccines from GPs once a month. If your practice is short of tetanus-containing vaccines, the Public Health Unit have some supply they can provide in the interim. Contact 07 5667 3200 and ask to access the supply of tetanus-containing vaccines.
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