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Child influenza death sparks flu vaccine warning

Warren Moore

One child has died and more than a dozen others have been hospitalised after coming down with the flu.

19 children have been admitted to Westmead Children’s hospital with influenza since April.

NSW Health is urging parents to vaccinate their children after only 20% of eligible children received the shot, despite a free vaccine on offer for those under five.

The dominant flu strain in New South Wales this year hits young children and pregnant women the hardest.

NSW Health Director of Communicable Diseases Dr Vicky Sheppeard tells Warren Moore certain strains have different impacts on people of different ages.

“It’s partly because of the immunity that they hold.”

Dr Sheppeard tells Warren the flu season has yet to start but is expected to begin “in the next week or two”, and will peak in late August.

She says NSW Health is “renewing the call” for parents to vaccinate their kids.

“We’re really renewing the call for parents of children under five, and for other highly susceptible people like pregnant women, to make sure they get vaccinated now before flu season takes off in a couple of weeks.”

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