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baby girl about to receive a vaccination

This year, more than 6 million doses of the influenza vaccine have been secured to ensure Australians who are most at risk of getting sick during this year’s flu season are able to access free influenza vaccines through the Australian Government’s National Immunisation Program.

The flu is more than a cold. Symptoms of the flu, or influenza, include fatigue, aches, fevers, chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose, and headaches. It can be extremely debilitating, and in extreme cases, even fatal. Getting your free influenza vaccination not only protects you from catching the flu but also protects everyone you come in contact with, including infants who are too young to be immunised (0 to 6 months).

Those eligible for a free flu shot under the National Immunisation Program include people 65 years and over, pregnant women, those who suffer chronic conditions as well as, for the first time, all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People from 6 months of age. Closing this gap means that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and adolescents aged 5-14 years of age will now be able to access the flu vaccine at no cost.

Annual vaccination is recommended for anyone six months of age and older, with those not eligible under the program able to purchase the vaccine on the private market. Most people will develop immunity within two to three weeks of vaccination. Experts have advised there is recent evidence suggesting that protection following influenza vaccination may begin to wane.

You can get your free flu vaccine from any registered National Immunisation Provider (NIP). It's important to get the flu shot each year, as the virus changes and
recent evidence suggests that protection diminishes over time.

An enhanced trivalent vaccine, Fluad® (Seqirus), is being supplied for those aged 65 years and over. Most people will develop immunity within two to three weeks of
vaccination. As influenza usually occurs from June, with the peak around August, getting your vaccination now will allow you to develop immunity before the flu season hits its peak. For more information about the influenza vaccine, speak to your GP or other immunisation provider or visit www.health.gov.au/immunisation 

National Immunisation Information Line
Phone: 1800 671 811 Mon-Fri 8:30am-5pm AEST

Information sourced from Australian Department of Health, 2019 influenza vaccines