Parents urged to vaccinate children against flu

Hundreds of sick children are ending up in hospital with flu, prompting doctors to urge parents to get their kids vaccinated for the potentially life-threatening virus.

Doctors say a mild illness for an adult might mean hospitalisation for a young child and getting the jab is especially important in winter, given the trifecta of flu, COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus circulating in the community.

Between January and May at least 40 per cent of the 800 children who presented to hospitals across the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network were admitted for treatment.

Pediatrician Dr Phil Britton says flu is extremely contagious and potentially life-threatening for children under the age of five.

‚ÄúWhile most cases are typically mild, some children experience complications such as severe chest infections, altered consciousness, seizures and heart inflammation,‚ÄĚ he said on Tuesday.

‚ÄúBabies and immuno-compromised children are particularly vulnerable to respiratory illnesses like flu.‚ÄĚ

Influenza vaccines are available through doctors and Aboriginal Medical Services.

The vaccine is also available at the pharmacist for those five and older.

Children from six months to five years, Indigenous people aged from six months, everyone 65 years and older and those with serious heath conditions are eligible for a free flu shot.

The best way to protect a baby under six months is by getting the whole family vaccinated, Dr Britton said.

 

Joanna Guelas
(Australian Associated Press)

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