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The importance of the flu vaccine in 2022

Doctor giving patient flu shot in hospital office room

Influenza, or ‘the flu’, is a highly contagious viral infection. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, people became vigilant about social distancing, washing their hands and wearing masks, which all play a role in keeping viral infections at bay. But these measures, along with border closures, also meant that influenza infections during flu season have been at record lows since 2020.

Let’s explore why getting your flu shot this year – perhaps even over and above previous years – is so important and how you might be able to get it for free.

Flu cases in Australia

There were only 598 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza in Australia to November 2021 and zero flu deaths were recorded in Australia in 2021. Unfortunately, in 2022, the flu appears to be making a significant comeback, with latest figures being 87, 989.

New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland have already recorded more cases per individual state than were recorded in the whole country last year.

The numbers are climbing rapidly, which is why people are being urged to get a flu jab as soon as possible.

States offer free flu shots

After the Queensland government announced it would be providing free flu shots for Queenslanders until 30th June 2022, several other states followed suit. Free flu vaccination is now available for people aged over six months in NSW, Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia.

In Tasmania, a Regional Flu Vaccination program is in place which has seen the rollout of free pop-up flu vaccination clinics in Queenstown and Rosebery. People who are at greater risk of severe illness from influenza are eligible for a free flu jab at their local pharmacy or GP.

Eligible risk groups may also receive a free flu vaccination in the Northern Territory and the ACT.

Stay up to date with the flu vaccination situation where you live. Web links and contact details for each state and territory’s immunisation health service are available here.

Where to get vaccinated

Free and paid flu shots are available from a range of health services, including pharmacies, GPs, local Council immunisation clinics, community health centres, Aboriginal medical services and some schools. Not all of the above can provide free vaccines so be sure to enquire before making a booking.

FAQs

Both are viral respiratory illnesses but each is caused by a different virus. Some of the symptoms can be similar, but the flu can be far more severe and can lead to hospitalisation and even life-threatening complications. Often, the flu will come with fever, headaches, and aches and pains, which are less commonly experienced in colds.

Click here for a comparison of the symptoms of Covid-19, colds, the flu and allergies.

No, similar to COVID-19, the vaccination will not guarantee that you won’t get the flu, but it could mean your symptoms are vastly reduced and minimise the risk of flu-associated hospitalisation.

No. The COVID-19 vaccine does not protect against the flu as it’s a different virus.

No. COVID-19 vaccines can be administered at the same time as an influenza vaccine.

The Federal government recommends that all people aged six months and over get vaccinated against the flu every year.

Under the National Immunisation Program, some people who are more vulnerable to influenza complications than others are eligible for a free annual influenza vaccination. They include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, children aged six months to five years, pregnant women, people aged 65 or over and people who have medical conditions that increase their risk of serious disease. These conditions include cardiac, respiratory and neurological conditions, diabetics and other metabolic disorders, immunocompromising conditions, haemotological disorders, renal disease and children on long term aspirin therapy.

In Queensland, free flu shots are already available for people aged between 6 and 64, until 30th June 2022.

Yes! Check with your local pharmacy or book an appointment with your GP. Some medical practices run scheduled vaccination clinics. A flu shot may cost $14.95, $24.95 or more, depending on who administers it. Ask before you book.

Yes. Your flu shot will be entered on the Australian Immunisation Register, which you’ll be able to view on your My Health Record. Learn more about getting the proof of your vaccination.

We invite you to book a support session with an independent support worker via the Mable platform. You can find someone to provide you with transport to and from your appointment and if you need it, help to dress and get ready to go to it.

Frequently Asked Questions?

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