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Two year old boy Kaiser McKinley first to die from Influenza in Queensland

Two-year-old boy who died of flu was a happy and healthy toddler with a ‘cheeky smile’ – and now his pregnant mother and two siblings are sick.

Kaiser McKinley was hospitalized on Sunday in Gladstone, Central Queensland, and died of Influenza A the following day.

His older brother Tawera was hospitalized with the same symptoms and his pregnant mother Shayna and another of his siblings also have flu symptoms.

Kaiser McKinley, 2, was described by family as a 'happy and healthy boy with a sassy smile'

Kaiser McKinley, 2, was described by family as a ‘happy and healthy boy with a sassy smile’

The godparents of two-year-old Navere and Xavier Oakes believed that doctors “could have done more” to save the little boy’s life.

Central Queensland Health CEO Emma McCahon said on Friday the state will assess the young boy’s death.

“We will do what we can to support the family and our team members during this difficult time,” she told the courier post.

“In the event of an unexpected death, such as in this case, we review what happened to make sure that all the care provided was appropriate and to identify any improvements.”

The two-year-old was the first to die of the virus this year in Queensland and the fourth child in Australia

The two-year-old was the first to die of the virus this year in Queensland and the fourth child in Australia

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath expressed her condolences to the family and said she expected a briefing on the circumstances of the “devastating” death.

“Any loss of life and especially a child is devastating… regardless of the circumstances behind it,” she said.

“That means there is a family that is grieving deeply right now, and our condolences go out to that child’s family and friends.”

Kaiser was the first to die of the virus in Queensland this flu season and the fourth child in Australia this year.

Kaiser died of flu on June 5, 24 hours after being hospitalized in Gladstone (pictured), central Queensland.

Kaiser died of flu on June 5, 24 hours after being hospitalized in Gladstone (pictured), central Queensland.

The state has recorded that 1,319 children between the ages of 0 and 4 have contracted the virus since the beginning of the year and June 5.

About 31 percent of the population of Queensland has been vaccinated against the virus. Eight people are being treated for flu in intensive care units across the state and another 128 have been hospitalized since Friday.

Australia has had a spate of flu cases in recent weeks as temperatures plummeted.

Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital has reported that the number of childhood flu cases has risen from just 16 in the entire month of March to 120 in the past two weeks alone – a 500 percent increase.

Kaiser's older brother Tawera was hospitalized with the same symptoms and his pregnant mother Shayna (pictured) and another of his siblings also have flu symptoms

Kaiser’s older brother Tawera was hospitalized with the same symptoms and his pregnant mother Shayna (pictured) and another of his siblings also have flu symptoms

Many states have made flu vaccines free for June in hopes of increasing vaccination rates.

Ms D’Ath said immunization rates in Queensland had doubled at this time last year since the introduction of free vaccinations.

“Before we announced that we were giving free flu shots to six- to 64-year-olds, we actually saw a drop in flu vaccination uptake as we entered the flu season, which was very, very concerning,” she said.

‘We are now at double the vaccination rate of last year and that shows a significant uptake.’

Influenza has been a relative afterthought in the past two years as Covid dominated health concerns, with flu infections at ‘historically low levels’.

In 2019, the year before the pandemic, Australia’s National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System reported 313,033 laboratory-confirmed cases of flu.

Kaiser’s vaccination status is not yet known.

A GoFundMe page was started by his godparents to help his family with the toddlers’ funeral expenses.

The toddler was described by family as a 'happy and healthy boy with a cheeky smile'

The toddler was described by family as a ‘happy and healthy boy with a cheeky smile’

“As only two years old, Kaiser had his whole life ahead of him. He was a happy and healthy little boy with a cheeky smile,” wrote Navere Oakes.

‘He didn’t deserve this. With his mother Shayna and family still mourning the loss of her little brother, it only adds to the amount of grief and sadness.

As his God parents, Xavier and I are setting up this Go Fund Me page in hopes of helping his mother Shayna with funeral expenses and all that is left will go to her and his 4 siblings with the 5th on the way .’

The fund has received 33 donations totaling $2,160 and hopes to raise $10,000.

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