Flu campaign 2020 image2: protect our health system - get your flu shot.

It’s important that we all play our part in helping fight flu this winter. We encourage everyone to take every possible step to help stop the spread of flu this winter. This will help protect our health system and our most vulnerable populations. 

The best way you can help prevent getting and spreading the flu is with an annual flu shot.

Help protect our health system – get your flu shot

Everyone aged six months and over should get an annual flu shot.

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
  • pregnant women
  • people aged over 65
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (6 months and over)
  • people with chronic medical conditions.

The flu shot is now available from your local GP, pharmacist and community immunisation sessions.

Many of our pharmacies are also able to provide the flu shot to people 10 years of age and over, as well as being able to provide advice about the virus. 

GP clinics, pharmacies and community immunisations sessions will still be providing necessary and life-saving vaccinations like the flu shot whilst also following all current advice around hygiene practices and physical distancing requirements.

Select your preferred provider type in the service finder below to find the one closest to you.

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.

Why get the flu vaccine? 

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Each year the flu affects thousands of Victorians and puts an enormous amount of pressure on our hospitals and health system. 

This year’s flu season might coincide with the peak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, potentially placing additional pressure on our health system. The more people who get the flu shot, the less likely the flu will spread.

Helping reduce the number of people getting the flu this winter will mean fewer people going to GPs and hospitals with severe flu symptoms. This will mean our health system is more able to cope with the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The benefits go beyond the individual, too. Getting a flu shot also means you help to protect others, including those who are too sick or too young to be vaccinated, as well as vulnerable groups such as children under 5, people aged 65 years and over, and pregnant women.    

Find out more about flu (influenza) immunisation.

Can I still go get my flu vaccine this year?

Going to your local GP, pharmacy or community immunisation session to get a flu shot is a valid reason to leave the house under the Chief Health Officer’s Stage Three directions, providing social distancing is practiced wherever possible. 

All immunisation providers have been provided with advice about how to ensure they’ve got the right physical distancing measures in place in the context of the coronavirus pandemic.

We recommend calling ahead to your local immunisation provider to ensure they have vaccine available, and to book your appointment.

Select your preferred provider type in the service finder below to find the one closest to you.

If I’m self-isolating because of coronavirus (COVID-19), why do I need a flu shot? 

Even if you are self-isolating, you will still be at risk of getting the flu when you do leave the house to go to the supermarket, or exercise outdoors.

If you are self-isolating because you have COVID-19 or are in quarantine due to being a contact or returned traveller, you should wait until you have been cleared from infection or completed your quarantine before obtaining a flu shot.

If you are recovering from coronavirus (COVID-19), your immune system may still be recovering too, and you may be more at risk of getting the flu or experiencing more severe symptoms when you are released from isolation. You should talk to your GP about this.

Will a flu shot protect me against coronavirus (COVID-19)? 

The viruses that cause coronavirus (COVID-19) and the flu are very different, but they cause similar symptoms, and both can have serious life-threatening complications.

While you can protect yourself against the flu with an influenza vaccination, there is no current vaccine for coronavirus (COVID-19).

The most effective way to reduce your risk is to follow official guidance on staying home, handwashing, cough etiquette and physical distancing. These measures will also help protect you against the flu.

To find out more about coronavirus (COVID-19) please visit the Department of Health and Human Services website

 

Flu campaign 2020 image: protect our health system - get your flu shot.

Three simple steps to help protect our health system

Many of the things we can do to help to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), such as handwashing, cough and sneeze hygiene and physical distancing, can also help stop the spread of flu.

Step One: Cough or sneeze into your elbow

Hands are one of the top spreaders of germs and viruses. 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 the flu.

If you do use a tissue, make sure you dispose of it into a bin nearby and then wash your hands.

What is the flu?

Flu Campaign 2019 - Cough Icon

The flu is a highly contagious viral infection that can cause severe illness. It’s not like the common cold, it can hit quickly and last for a few weeks.

Even healthy people can sometimes die from flu. For vulnerable Victorians, like young children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with a weakened immune system, the flu can have serious and devastating outcomes.

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