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Children are very susceptible to flu. Between 20 and 30% of children contract flu each year, compared to 5-10% of adults.


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Flu is a worldwide illness that can affect anyone. Flu spreads quickly and easily through coughing and sneezing. It causes respiratory infections, which can result in you getting very sick, being hospitalised and even dying.1,2


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Children are very susceptible to flu. Between 20 and 30% of children contract flu each year, compared to 5-10% of adults. 3

Flu leads to the annual hospitalisation of approximately 870,000 children under 5 years old worldwide. 3

Children contribute to the spread of flu in the community due to:3

  • Close contact with other children at school and day care
  • Close contact with adults and the elderly
  • Poor hygiene habits
  • Limited pre-existing immunity

Up to 650,000 people worldwide and over 11,000 people in South Africa, die from flu each year.1,3

Up to 5 million people worldwide, including more than 45,000 South Africans, get severely ill from flu each year.1,3 Almost 50% of these affected South Africans need to be hospitalised.3

Getting a flu vaccine every year is one of the most effective ways to prevent getting flu, and to reduce getting severely ill, being hospitalised and dying.1,3

In many cases, influenza infection in young children is associated with severe symptoms, frequent healthcare use, and inappropriate antibiotic use.3

It is important to get the flu vaccine to protect young people against influenza, which helps to reduce the burden on the health system


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  • Reduces the risk of severe illness and hospitalisation.
  • Reduces the risk of illness, which can keep your child from missing school or childcare and you from having to miss work.
  • Reduces the high risk of developing serious complications especially if your child is younger than 5 years, or of any age with certain chronic conditions.
  • Helps prevent spreading flu to family and friends, including babies younger than 6 months who are too young to get a flu vaccine.

More information on HIGH RISK INDIVIDUALS 

  1. World Health Organization. Influenza (Seasonal). Available from: news-room/fact-sheets/detail/influenza-(seasonal). Accessed September 2021.
    2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Flu Symptoms & Complications. Available from: symptoms/symptoms.htm. Accessed October 2019.
    3. El Guerche-Séblain, C., Moureau, A., Schiffler, C. et al. Epidemiology and burden of influenza in healthy children aged 6 to 35 months: analysis of data from the placebo arm of a phase III efficacy trial. BMC Infect Dis 19, 308 (2019)
    4. Accessed September 2021.
    5. World Health Organization. Guiding principles for immunization activities during the COVID 19 pandemic. Available at:
    6. Accessed September 2021.

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