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Free flu shots have been extended to July 17 in NSW, amid concerns vaccination rates are still not where they should be.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the latest data shows only one in four children aged under five has had a flu shot, while the figures are even lower for kids aged five to 15.

“These numbers are particularly concerning given in the last month, four times as many kids have been admitted to Sydney’s two children’s hospitals with flu than with COVID,” Hazzard said.

The uptake of the flu vaccine in adults is equally worrying, with less than 40 per cent of 50 to 65 year olds and only 64 per cent of those aged over 65 having a flu jab.

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant urged more people to come forward for their flu jab to prevent unnecessary hospitalisations.

“More than 1000 people presented to our EDs with flu-like illness last week and almost 165 were so unwell they were admitted, including very young children,” Chant said.

The free shots will continue to be available to all NSW residents.

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