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Flu season has started early in preschools across the country as hospitals report a concerning spike in children needing emergency care.

There have already been over 5000 more flu cases reported this year compared to the same period last year during one of the worst flu seasons on record, according to National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) data.

The “kindy flu” is a new strain of influenza A that is spreading fast through the state’s early childhood centres and preschools, The Daily Telegraph reports.

It is considerably worrying given that only two per cent of children aged between six months and five years old have received a flu vaccination this year. Only 1.4 per cent of five to 15-year-olds have got a shot.

With the flu season kicking off earlier than expected this year, health authorities are urging parents to get their kids vaccinated sooner rather than later.

There have already been 1200 flu cases reported in the second week of April alone.

Flu fact box

The flu vaccine is free for children aged between six months and five years old, as well as all Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people, people aged over 65 years old, pregnant women and those with serious health conditions.

Health authorities warn that immunity remains particularly low across the entire population after Covid lockdowns and border closures saw cases plummet for two years.