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It’s early in the flu season but there have already been 8704 confirmed cases of influenza across the state, 5500 more than this time last year.
Of those 8704, 1220 cases were in newborns to four-year-olds, and 1839 were in children aged between five and nine.
“We all know that young children are very good at spreading viral infections amongst themselves, so it’s going pretty wild,” Dr Charlotte Hespe from the Royal Australian College of GPs NSW said.
NSW Health Minister Ryan Park said people should get vaccinated against the flu as soon as possible.
“Particularly for vulnerable groups, that includes children aged from six months to five years, older people, Aboriginal people, and of course those with heart or lung conditions.
“We know that influenza is starting to crop up in our preschools, in our early childhood centres, and in the early stages of school – and that’s why we’re sending a very clear message today – that parents really need to prioritise getting their children vaccinated,” Park added.
Just two per cent of children aged six months to five years have received a flu vaccine this year, and only 1.4 per cent of five to 15-year-olds, according to the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance.
The flu shot is free for kids under five.