Influenza (flu) is a highly contagious viral infection that is responsible for major outbreaks of respiratory illness around the world, usually in the winter months. Unlike the common cold, influenza can cause severe illness and life-threatening complications such as pneumonia and bronchitis, which often require hospitalisation.
The flu virus is especially dangerous for elderly people, pregnant women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and very young children, as well as for people with underlying medical conditions. It is estimated that each year, flu contributes to an average of 13,500 hospitalisations and more than 3,000 deaths among Australians aged over 50 years
Vaccination offers effective protection against influenza, although vaccines need to be given each year as flu viruses are always changing.
National Immunisation Program 2016 seasonal flu shot
The 2016 flu shot will be available in April from GP surgeries and other immunisation providers.
The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone from six months of age, but is available free under the National Immunisation Program for people who face a high risk from influenza and its complications. These are:
- People aged 65 years and over
Aboriginal and Torres Strait people aged six months to less than five years
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are aged 15 years and over
- Pregnant women
- People aged six months and over with medical conditions such as severe asthma, lung or heart disease, low immunity or diabetes that can lead to complications from influenza.
To receive your influenza vaccination, visit your local doctor or immunisation provider. It is important to note that while the vaccine is free, a consultation fee may apply.
All the people with Centrelink Concession card and fit in the above mentioned criteria can get their free needles under the National Immunisation Program.
All the people who are not having Centrelink Concession card or doesn’t fit in the above mentioned criteria for free needles can get their needles privately for a price of
$23 (4 strains) and their consultation will be bulk billed if they are coming for Flu needle only but if the consultation will involve other issue, standard consultation charges will apply.
Call 02 9518 6666 or 02 9518 6969 to book an appointment.
Influenza vaccination in children
Children can begin to be immunised against the flu from six months of age. Children aged eight years and under require two doses, at least four weeks apart in the first year they receive the vaccine. One dose of influenza vaccine is required for subsequent years and for children aged nine years and over.
All vaccines currently available in Australia must pass stringent safety testing before being approved for use by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
Questions and Answers for Influenza (flu) immunisation
Three things you might not know about the flu shot:
- There is no live virus in the flu shot.
- The composition of the vaccine changes every year
- The flu shot is safe for pregnant women at all stages of their pregnancy.