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Syringe, vaccine bottle and calendar

As we are coming in to the cooler months, both COVID-19 and Influenza A (the Flu) cases are likely to increase dramatically. Both respiratory illnesses can be very dangerous and even fatal, and it's best to be protected, for your own sake and for others. 

Despite most people and places reverting to "pre-pandemic" settings, COVID-19 has not gone away. It is still making many people very sick and it is even still making some people die. People who are older or have disabilities are particularly at risk of developing complications from COVID-19 and Influenza.

Experts are still unclear about how having the seasonal flu could worsen the impacts of a COVID-19 infection 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 cannot be vaccinated due to sickness or being too young. 

It's easy and for most at-risk groups, it is free. 

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. 

Are you Eligible for a Free Flu Shot?

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

  • Children aged six months to five years 
  • 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

When can you get one?

The free flu vaccines under the National program are usually available from April onwards. In 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.

Where can you get one?

Check with your local doctor or pharmacy as a first option. To locate a suitable service provider close to you, you can use the National Health Service Directory.

Are you eligible for the COVID-19 booster shot?

ATAGI has updated recommendations for COVID-19 vaccines and now reccomends that if you are an adult or child over 5 with risk factors, and have not have a COVID-19 vaccine or infection in the past six months, that you should consider getting a booster. 

In at-risk groups, such as people with disabilities and people over 65, a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine is "strongly" reccomended. 

Can you get the flu shot and COVID-19 booster at the same time?

Originally, it was recommended that you space the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine at least 14 days apart. However, the health advice has changed, and COVID-19 vaccines can now be co-administered (that is, given on the same day) with an influenza vaccine. 

The order of your vaccines does not matter. If you qualify for a COVID-19 booster, you can use the Covid-19 Vaccine Finder. You should tell your provider if you have already received the COVID-19 vaccine when booking your flu shot.

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.

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