Some patients other than the elderly require yearly influenza injections. Vaccination can be given to adults of any age and children from 6 months.
Young adults and children with a chronic disease are at high risk of serious complications from the flu and should be vaccinated against it, for example those with diabetes, heart, kidney and lung disorders (eg severe asthma, cystic fibrosis) and HIV.
Healthy, young, busy, working people, such as the self-employed or those in important positions or essential services, may also desire protection. Flu shots reduce absenteeism from work, doctor visits and the use of antibiotics.
Mothers of young children may simply want to avoid the disruption of having to spend a few days sick in bed in winter.
Women who will be in the second or third trimesters of pregnancy in the flu season are also advised to be immunised.
Vaccination essential for elderly
Older people are at high risk of complications and are provided with free vaccine:
- All people aged 65 and over, even if you are fit and healthy. The risk is greatest for those with chronic heart or lung disease and those in nursing homes.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders aged 50 years and older (or those aged 15-50 years at high risk).
When to get vaccinated
Now. Vaccination is usually given in autumn, to prepare for winter outbreaks, and takes about 2 weeks to be effective. Flu shots can also be given later during winter - the peak time for flu is usually July to September.
Vaccination gives about 70% protection from infection. It lasts about a year and should be given annually. It does not last as long as protection from natural infection.
Please note this information was correct at time of printing.
For up to date information, speak to your doctor.