Better Health Channel
The flu isn’t like the common cold, it can hit quickly and last for weeks. For some people, the flu can have serious and devastating outcomes.

The flu isn’t like the common cold, it can hit quickly and last for weeks. For some people, the flu can have serious and devastating outcomes. It’s important everyone in the community plays their part in helping stop the spread of flu.

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Three simple steps to stop the spread of flu

What is the flu?

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The flu is a highly contagious viral infection that can cause severe illness. Each year the flu affects thousands of people and puts an enormous amount of pressure on our hospitals and health system.

Over 3,500 avoidable deaths occur in Australia every year from complications of seasonal flu, including pneumonia.

Find out more about flu (influenza)

Listen to our flu podcast

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Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Brett Sutton and the Director of the World Health Organisation’s Influenza Centre, Professor Kanta Subbarao discuss the complexities of the different flu viruses and how vaccines are crafted to protect us, common misconceptions, when to get vaccinated and why some groups are more vulnerable to the flu.

Listen to our flu podcast

Why get the flu vaccine? 

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You never forget the flu, it can hit quickly and last for a few weeks, meaning time off work or school and staying away from family and friends.

The flu doesn’t discriminate, and anyone can be affected – that’s why it's so important that everyone in the community protects themselves against the flu this season by getting their flu shot.

Find out more about flu (influenza) immunisation.

It’s never too late to get the flu vaccine

Everyone should get an annual flu shot. If you haven’t had your flu shot this year, it’s never too late to be vaccinated. Particularly if you’re in an at-risk group and eligible for free flu vaccination.

The flu vaccination is free for:

  • children aged 6 months to under five years of age (Victorian Government funded program)
  • pregnant women
  • people aged over 65
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (6 months and over)
  • people with chronic medical conditions.

By getting your flu shot, you’re not just protecting yourself, you’re also protecting vulnerable people who cannot receive the vaccine themselves such as young babies less than six months old and those who have low immunity. 

You can get your flu shot from a range of providers, including GPs, community health centres and some pharmacies.

Please note that some doctors or other immunisation providers may charge a consultation fee. Please check with your local immunisation provider to see whether there are any costs involved.

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Reviewed on: 28-02-2020