Three children have died from influenza this year. They were aged three, six, and 11 years of age.
The children are amongst the 26 victims in Victoria whose deaths have been attributed to contracting the flu in 2019. The other 23 people were aged care residents. In South Australia, 27 people have died, and in Queensland, 25.
Why so many Australians are dying from the flu. Post continues after podcast.
But of course, that’s not the end of it. This year’s flu season is tracking to be one of the worst on record – and the peak is still over a month away.
Experts predict about 4000 people will die from complications due to influenza this year.
There have already been up to 40,000 influenza notifications, which is about three times the numbers at the same time last year.
Australia, this is serious. And if you don’t think you need to worry about yourself, and get a flu shot that could save your life, think again.
Senior medical virologist William Rawlinson said he expected up to two million people would be infected with the flu this year and that the virus would peak in July or August – meaning the highest risk is yet to come.
Luckily, all of us have access to a life-saving vaccine; the flu shot.
NSW Health’s Director of Communicable Diseases Dr Vicky Sheppeard said in a statement, “The best weapon against flu is vaccination and right now is the best time to have it.”
This isn’t new news – the government and medical profession have been urging Australians to become vaccinated against this year’s strain, for months. Part of the pre-Winter warning is because flu season arrived early.
“It’s important to get your flu shots now as it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to provide full protection,” Dr Sheppeard advised.
“And children under nine years of age having the shot for the first time require two doses, one month apart.