Now is the time to have your flu (influenza) shot to protect yourself against an outbreak of winter flu.
The vaccine is essential for those aged 65 and older and for people with long-term medical conditions who are most at risk of complications such as pneumonia and even death. However, the vaccine can be given to anyone over 6 months of age wanting to reduce the risk of flu.
A single flu injection is required every year as the influenza virus changes all the time. The vaccine is updated every year to match the current viruses. It then takes about 2 weeks to develop immunity.
The flu vaccine is safe and well tolerated. The most common side effect is soreness at the injection site. Fever, fatigue and muscle pains can also occur but serious reactions are rare. The vaccine cannot cause the flu as it does not contain live virus.
You should not be vaccinated if you are allergic to eggs or while you have a fever.
The vaccine is free for people aged 65 and older. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders qualify from 50, or from 15-49 years if at increased risk of chronic illness.
Who should be vaccinated?
- All people aged 65 and over.
- Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islanders over 50.
- Anyone with a long-term heart, lung or kidney disease or diabetes.
- People with low immunity, such as from HIV, cancer, long-term steroid use.
- Residents of nursing homes and hostels.
- People in contact with high-risk patients such as nursing home staff, household members of people in high-risk groups.
- Women planning a pregnancy and those who will be pregnant in the second or third trimester during the flu season.
- Travellers going overseas to areas where flu is currently circulating.
- Children taking long-term aspirin.
For more details, go to http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/.
Please note this information was correct at time of printing.
For up to date information, speak to your doctor.