Influenza is a highly contagious viral infection that can cause widespread illness and deaths every year.
This year, it’s even more important to get the influenza vaccine as we are more vulnerable to influenza. This is due to lower recent exposure to the virus and lower uptake of influenza vaccines in 2021. With international borders reopening, it’s likely we will see more influenza in 2022.
Who should get an influenza vaccine
Vaccination experts recommend influenza vaccination for all people aged 6 months and over. Under the National Immunisation Program, free influenza vaccines are provided to the following groups who are at higher risk of complications from influenza:
- children aged 6 months to less than 5 years
- all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over
- people aged 6 months and over with certain medical conditions that increase their chance of severe influenza and its complications
- pregnant women (at any stage during pregnancy)
- people aged 65 years and over.
When the influenza vaccines will be available
Free influenza vaccines under the National Immunisation Program became available in April 2022. Check with your immunisation provider to find out when they will have the vaccine available and when you can book in to get the vaccine.
Book your appointment to get vaccinated from mid-April to ensure you have the best protection at the peak of the season (usually June to September). However, it’s never too late to get vaccinated as influenza can spread all year round.
Free influenza vaccines will be available from GPs, community health clinics, and eligible pharmacies. To locate a service in your area you can search the National Health Services Directory.
If you are not eligible for a free influenza vaccine, you can buy the vaccine from your GP, a pharmacy, or another immunisation provider.
Influenza and COVID-19 vaccination
The influenza vaccine and COVID-19 vaccines can be safely given at the same visit. The best way to protect yourself against getting both infections this winter is to make sure you’ve had your influenza vaccine and are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, including any recommended booster doses.
When you book in for your influenza vaccination, talk to your vaccination provider about whether they can administer both vaccines.
The Australian Immunisation Register
The Australian Immunisation Register records vaccines given to all people in Australia.