An eight-year-old girl has warned people to get flu shots after a near-death experience.
Allegra Siciliano had to learn to walk and talk again after a severe case of the flu five years ago.
“You should get the flu injection even if you’re not sick because you can still catch it,” Allegra said.
“They put it in my left arm here and it hurts a little bit.”
Allegra’s father Ross Siciliano recounted the life-threatening experience.
“The initial stages, ended up in ICU for just over a week and it was during that week it was all touch and go, we weren’t quite sure whether she would make it,” he said.
While flu cases have dropped this year, Victorians are still being urged to get the vaccinations.
The Andrews government will fund free vaccinations for children under five again next year, following this year’s success.
Last year was one of Australia’s worst flu seasons. In 2018, there have been 4953 reported cases, which is 30,000 fewer than the same time last year.
“A combination of the science, the vaccination, campaigning to people about getting your flu vax done has really lead to these improvements,” Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy said.
Chief Preventative Health Officer Dr Bruce Bolan said the state had given more vaccinations this year than they ever had before.
“That’s made a really significant difference,” he said.
To make sure cases continue to fall, children aged six months to five years will get free flu shots again next year.
However, the opposition has promised a bigger investment.
“We’re promising four years of free flu vaccines,” Shadow Education Minister Tim Smith said.
In spite of improvements in the number of cases, the public is urged to remain vigilant.
“What we learnt last year is that the flu didn’t peak until later towards the year,” Ms Hennessy said.