Gloved hand holding a syringe

Government-funded influenza vaccines have been available to providers since mid-April 2020. It was recommended that people get their flu shot before the cold and flu season started. Are you eligible for a free vaccination, and who do you speak to for advice?

Experts are still unclear how seasonal flu could worsen COVID-19 however, it is recommended people avoid having both. Influenza is the most common preventable disease in Australia. However, it can also cause very serious illness in otherwise healthy people leading to hospitalisation and even death. Getting a flu shot can help to protect others in the community including those who can’t be vaccinated due to sickness or being too young.

People with disability, especially those who are older or have chronic illnesses or respiratory problems, are particularly at risk from both the flu (influenza) and COVID-19. You can read more about COVID-19 in our COVID-19 Resources section. 

Am I eligible for a free flu shot?

Some people are eligible for a free flu vaccine, under the Federal Government’s National Immunisation Program, because they are most at risk. This includes

  • Children aged six months to five years (this is new in 2020)
  • Pregnant women (during any stage of pregnancy)
  • People aged 65 years and over
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over
  • People aged six months and over with medical conditions that mean they have a higher risk of flu complications. Like people with diabetes, severe asthma, lung or heart disease.

For most cases, the flu vaccine is available through your local doctor or GP. Pharmacies, community health clinics, Aboriginal Medical Services, school-based immunisation programs and some workplaces will provide the flu vaccine. Coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic, be mindful of the steps put in place to reduce the risk of transmission of this virus when attending one of these locations. Check with your GP on your personal circumstances and if it is still worthwhile to get your flu shot this season.

For general advice and information about immunisation, you can call the National Immunisation Information Line on 1800 671 811 or read more about Flu (influenza) immunisation here.

 IDEAS does information so you can do life.