You never forget the flu – so don’t forget your flu shot
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. Your best possible protection this winter is the flu shot.
Who should get the flu vaccine?
Anyone aged six months or older is encouraged to get an annual flu shot.
For vulnerable people, like young children, the elderly and people with a weakened immune system, the flu can have serious and devastating outcomes.
That’s why 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.
Use the immunisation service finder below to see where you can get your free flu shot.
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.
Why get the flu vaccine?
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.
What is the flu?
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
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.
Three simple steps to stop the spread of flu
Cough or sneeze into your elbow
Hands are a major transmitter of viruses and bugs. If you don't have a tissue handy and you feel a sneeze or cough coming on, cough or sneeze into your elbow. It's a part of your body less likely to touch other surfaces and will help stop the spread of those nasty germs.
If you do use a tissue, make sure you dispose of it into a bin nearby.