Young girl dies from flu in Melbourne's east

Sarah Hawthorn

Young girl dies from flu in Melbourne's east

Health Minister Jill Hennessy said young children must be added to the flu shots program from next year.

"We're not exactly beyond any doubt if the flu season has crested or not".

"Some people who've been healthy have been very unlucky this year", he says.

"Do not underestimate how serious an illness influenza can be".

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"Actually we can't beat nature. The ongoing lesson is we have just got to keep trying to make sure that we are better protecting and better supporting people through better vaccines and care and support".

"We think, particularly with the strong data that came out of the United Kingdom this year - they gave free flu vaccines to children and found this also prevented flu in older people, as they didn't give it to their grandparents - if we'd had a number of our children vaccinated against influenza, we wouldn't have seen the sort of numbers we had this year", he told the AJP.

Annually, the flu season leads to the death of between 2,000 and 3,000 people across the country, with an estimated 800 annual deaths in Victoria, data from the Victorian Department of Health showed.

Dr Van Buynder told the AJP that the flu season has finally peaked, with a decline in numbers this week.

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On 1 August, the New South Wales wellbeing division discharged information which demonstrated an especially bad flu year.

Under the National Immunisation Program, those eligible for a free flu shot include people aged 65 years and over, most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and those who suffer from chronic health conditions. More than 11,200 influenza cases were accounted for in July over the state.

The state's flu toll has doubled since the last season, as it has in NSW, and the stats have tripled in Queensland, with more than 19,000 cases recorded as of mid-August.

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Warning rates were most elevated in grown-ups matured 80 or over, trailed by youngsters matured five to nine.

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