April–June is usually a good time to get your flu shot in Australia. It’s particularly important to get your flu vaccination before winter this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Influenza is a major cause of illness in Australia and people die of the flu every year. Some years, the prevailing flu strains are much more severe than others, and this is unpredictable.
The most important weapon against flu and its complications is vaccination. The more people who are vaccinated, the less the flu will spread in the community.
Talk to your GP about the best time for you to get your flu shot. Being vaccinated at any time is better than not being vaccinated at all.
The level of protection provided by a flu vaccine can vary according to a person’s age, what other health conditions they may have, how much flu virus is circulating in the community and how good a match the vaccine is for the virus strains that are the most prominent for that season.
So in addition to vaccination it is important to know what else you can do to stop the spread of flu.
Should I get vaccinated during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Yes. Flu vaccination is particularly important this year. Hospitals and health care providers are already stretched because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Flu vaccination will not prevent you from getting infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, but it will help you avoid influenza and its complications.
Minimising the spread of flu is a good way to reduce strain on the health care system during the pandemic.
Find out more about why getting your flu shot now will help in the fight against COVID-19
For 2020, some changes have been made to the National Immunisation Program.
- All children aged 6 months to 5 years are now eligible for subsidised flu vaccination
Find out more about flu vaccination for children
- A new quadrivalent vaccine that works against the 4 most important influenza strains is available specifically for people over 65 years of age
Continue to practise social distancing (at least 1.5 metres) and careful hygiene when getting your vaccination.
Let your doctor or pharmacist know before you attend an appointment if:
- you have fever, shortness of breath or a cough
- you have returned from overseas in the last 14 days
- you have recently been in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.