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Warning to get children vaccinated for flu ahead of winter



Australians are warned to get their children vaccinated for the flu ahead of winter, as new data shows only 1 in 10 children have had their jab.

Royal Children's Hospital pediatrician Dr Anthea Rhodes said more than 40,000 cases have already been recorded this year, with the most affected age group children between 0 and 14.

"The flu season is well and truly here," she told Weekend Today.

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Rhodes said flu in children, particularly very young children could lead to a "very serious illness".

She said it was vital for parents to "get that jab done" for their kids this winter.

"In some instances, it can have severe affects on the chest and lungs causing pneumonia," Rhodes said.

"It can also cause inflammation of the heart and inflammation of the heart and inflammation of the brain and in some instances death."

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Rhodes said new data released today also found 1 in 5 parents aren't planning to vaccinate their kids at all.

"For many of those parents, there are still miss beliefs and confusion about the flu vaccine," she said.

"We need to remind people that flu is serious, particularly in young children.

"It's more fatiguing to face a dose of influenza and all the flow-on effects for the child and everyone in your home than it is to have another vaccine."

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There is also misinformation spreading online, Rhodes said.

"We have a number of parents who believe you can catch the flu from the flu vaccine," she said.

"The flu vaccine is not a live vaccine. There is no way you can catch the flu from the flu vaccine."

"About 70 per cent of parents also didn't know that they need a new flu vaccine every year. Even if you or your child had a vaccine last year, it will no longer be protecting you."

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