April 11, 2022
Influenza is a highly contagious viral infection that can cause widespread illness and death each year.
This year it is even more important to get the flu shot because we are more vulnerable to the flu. This is due to lower recent exposure to the virus and lower use of flu vaccines in 2021. With international borders reopening, it is likely that we will see more flu in 2022.
Who should get the flu shot
Vaccination experts recommend flu shots for everyone 6 months and older. Under the National Immunization Program, free flu shots are provided to the following groups who are at higher risk of flu complications:
- children from 6 months to less than 5 years old
- all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over
- people aged 6 months and over with certain medical conditions that increase their risk of severe influenza and its complications
- pregnant women (at any stage of pregnancy)
- people aged 65 and over.
When will flu shots be available?
Free flu shots under the National Immunization Program became available in April 2022. Check with your vaccine provider to find out when the vaccine will be available and when you can register to receive it.
Make an appointment to get vaccinated starting in mid-April to ensure you have the best protection during the height of the season (usually June to September). However, it is never too late to get vaccinated because the flu can spread all year round.
Free flu shots will be available from eligible GPs, community health clinics and pharmacies. To locate a service in your area, you can search for the National Directory of Health Services.
If you are not eligible for a free flu shot, you can buy the vaccine from your GP, pharmacy or other vaccine supplier.
Flu and COVID-19 vaccination
The flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccines can be safely given at the same visit. The best way to protect yourself against both infections this winter is to make sure you’ve had your flu shot and are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, including all recommended booster doses.
When you book your flu shot, ask your vaccine provider if they can administer both vaccines.
The Australian Immunization Registry
The Australian Immunization Registry records vaccines given to all people in Australia.