Influenza, known as the flu, can be a very serious disease.
Last year, Australia suffered from the worst flu season since 2009.
The high level of activity in the community resulted in a lot of people taking time off work. There was a significant burden on hospitals, with more than twice the number of people with influenza being admitted than is typical.
The flu vaccine is your best shot at stopping the flu.
Special flu shot clinics running for the next month
Attend one of our dedicated flu shot clinics and protect yourself from the flu. Sessions last only 5 minutes!
Your consultation will be bulk billed, while the cost of the vaccine is $15 (unless you’re eligible for a free vaccine – see eligibility below).
The only way to make a booking for these special clinics is by calling 9304 0500.
What is the flu?
The flu is caused by a virus that can infect your nose, throat and sometimes lungs. It spreads easily from person to person through coughing, sneezing and close contact, such as kissing and sharing food and drink.
What are the symptoms?
Flu symptoms can start suddenly like fever, headache, tiredness and muscle aches. Elderly people might also experience confusion while children might get an upset stomach and muscle aches.
Symptoms can last for a week or more. When severe, complications such as pneumonia and worsening of existing medical conditions can lead to hospitalisation and sometimes death.
Why should I get the flu shot?
Vaccination experts recommend that everyone over six months old get vaccinated to reduce their chance of getting the flu.
Every year the flu vaccine changes to match the flu virus that is most likely to be around during the flu season. Getting vaccinated every year is the best way of preventing the flu and any associated illness.
When should I get the flu shot?
Getting vaccinated from as early as April gives you and your children the best protection ready for the peak flu period, from around June to September.
Am I eligible for the free flu shot under the National Immunisation Program?
The vaccine is free under the National Immunisation Program for people who are more likely to be affected by complications from the flu. This includes:
- Pregnant women
- People aged 65 and over
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months to 5 years, and 15 years and over
- People aged 6 months and over with medical conditions that mean they have a higher risk of getting serious disease (e.g. diabetes, severe asthma, lung or heart disease)
- Children between 6 months and 5 years.
For everyone else, the cost of the flu vaccine is $15.
New flu vaccines for people aged 65 and over
This year, there are two new vaccines available to provide better protection for people aged 65 and over. Speak to your doctor to find out more about receiving one of the new vaccines.
Flu vaccines for children
All flu vaccines are age-specific. Let your doctor know the age of your child before they get their flu vaccine. This will make sure they receive the correct dose and brand.
Is the flu vaccine safe?
Common side effects may happen within one to two days after the vaccination. These include soreness, redness, discomfort and swelling at the injection site, tiredness, muscle aches and low fever. These side effects are usually mild and go away within a few days, normally without any treatment.
Can the flu vaccine actually give you the flu?
The flu vaccine does not contain any live virus, so you cannot get the flu from the vaccine.
For more information about the flu in 2018, please read the fact sheet.
8 fast facts about the flu
- Vaccination is the most effective way of preventing the spread of the flu in the community.
- To protect yourself from the flu, you should get vaccinated every year. The flu virus is always changing so the flu vaccine changes too.
- Flu vaccines are available for eligible people for free under the National Immunisation Program from April 2018.
- Getting the vaccine from April will protect you before the peak flu period, from around June to September.
- Children can receive the flu vaccine from six months of age.
- Let your doctor know your age or the age of your child before getting the flu shot. The brand of flu vaccine you should get depends on your age.
- This year, there are new vaccines available to provide better protection for older people aged 65 and over.
- The flu vaccine does not contain any live virus, so you cannot get the flu from the vaccine.
How do I get the flu shot?
To attend a bulk-billed flu shot clinic, please call 9304 0500. This is the only way to make a booking for these special clinics.
To make a regular appointment (during which you can get the flu shot), you can book how you normally would – on our website, on the Appointuit app, via Facebook or by calling 9304 0500.
Remember to get your flu shot early for your best chance of beating the flu!
Source: Department of Health
Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.