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Calls for flu jab increase after second child’s death

Influenza B tipped to spike

Authorities are imploring people to roll up their sleeves and receive their flu jabs after a second child died from the influenza B strain.

An 11-year-old Sunshine Coast girl died on Wednesday after catching the flu.

Her death follows that of a NSW student on the Central Coast on Tuesday from the virus.

Doctors are reporting increased cases of the flu, according to Australian Medical Association Queensland president Maria Boulton.

“We’re seeing way too many people end up in hospital emergency departments and even be admitted to intensive care units with severe flu,” Dr Boulton told Nine’s Today show on Thursday.

“When you look at Queensland … we’re losing the battle when it comes to the number of people vaccinated against the flu, particularly in that younger demographics.

“The age group between five and nine, only about 13 per cent of kids in that age group have been vaccinated. We need to do better.

“We know that vaccines have been around for a long time, they’re very effective, they are safe and certainly, if you haven’t had a vaccine, it’s really important that you book for one.”

Flu vaccinations across Australia between March and July 2023 have dropped almost 18 per cent compared to the same period in 2022.

South Australia has seen a 20 per cent decline, NSW 19.5 per cent, Victoria 18.9 per cent and Queensland 18.6 per cent.

As of June 25, there had been 1236 flu hospitalisations in Australia and 107 deaths, according to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System.

The rise in cases among students prompted Queensland’s Education minister Grace Grace to issue a call-out to parents.

“Particularly if you have Covid or the flu, it’s best to stay away from school,” Ms Grace said on Thursday.

“I just urge parents – if you haven’t had the updated flu injection, please consider doing that.”

– AAP

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