Hunt urges free flu shots for under fives

Colin Brinsden
Parents are being urged to have their children get the flu shot

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt is reminding parents the government is providing free flu vaccines for all children from six months to less than five years old for the first time.

There have been 1800 cases of flu in children under five years of age, including one death, so far in 2020.

"Young children are among the people most vulnerable to complications from influenza," Mr Hunt said in a joint statement with Regional Health Minister Mark Coulton.

"Influenza is a leading cause of hospitalisation for children under five and can be fatal, even in previously healthy children."

Overall, there have been more than 20,000 flu cases in this year and 36 deaths, down from 110,000 cases and 369 deaths at this time in 2019.

Free flu vaccine is also available through the National Immunisation Program for:

* pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy;

* all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged six months and older;

* people aged 65 years and older;

* people aged six months and older with certain medical risk factors.