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Government-funded influenza vaccines have been available to providers since mid-April 2021. It is recommended that people get their flu shot before the cold and flu season starts. Are you eligible for a free vaccination, and who can 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 cannot 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.

Are you 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 
  • 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 have been available since April 2021. In most cases, the flu vaccine is available through your local doctor or GP, free of charge. 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.

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.

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

It is recommended that you space the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine at least 14 days apart. The order of your vaccines does not matter, however, please be aware if you are eligible for the earlier phases of COVID-19 vaccines that it may be more important that you receive this vaccine sooner rather than later. You can check which phase you qualify for with the Covid-19 Vaccine Eligibility Checker. You should tell your provider if you have already received the COVID-19 vaccine when booking for 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.

More Information

Want to read find more information about the current COVID-19 Vaccine rollout? Go to COVID Vaccine Rollout - Ideas Blog

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