Influenza (flu) vaccines are given each year to protect against the most common strains of the virus. If you're eligible, you can get the influenza vaccine for free under the National Immunisation Program (NIP).
Influenza is a very contagious infection of the airways. It affects people of all ages. Although it can be a mild disease, it can also cause very serious illness in otherwise healthy people. It can require hospitalisation and can cause death.
Vaccination is a safe and effective way to protect you from serious disease caused by influenza.
Yearly influenza vaccination is recommended for people aged 6 months and over. Anyone who wants to protect themselves against influenza can talk to their immunisation provider about getting vaccinated.
The Australian Immunisation Handbook includes more information about specific groups who should get vaccinated against influenza.
The following people are more at risk of complications from influenza and are eligible for annual influenza vaccination free under the National Immunisation Program:
Children under nine years receiving their influenza vaccination for the first time require two doses of vaccine, spaced by a minimum of one month.
In some states and territories, influenza vaccines may also be provided for free to other people not listed above. Speak to your immunisation provider or contact your state or territory Department of Health to find out.
People who are not eligible for a free vaccine can purchase the vaccine from their immunisation provider.
Aged care workers may also be required to get an influenza vaccine. Learn more about responsibilities of residential aged care providers.
As the egg based influenza vaccines under the NIP only contains minute traces of egg protein, people with egg allergy, including a history of anaphylaxis, can be safely vaccinated with influenza vaccines. If you have an egg allergy, please discuss this with your immunisation provider.
People should not receive the influenza vaccine if they have experienced anaphylaxis after a previous dose of any influenza vaccine or anaphylaxis after any component of an influenza vaccine.
Influenza vaccines are given as an injection, usually in the upper arm. It is important to get the right vaccine for your age. Your immunisation provider can tell you which vaccine they will use for you or your child's influenza immunisation.
Influenza vaccines available under the NIP for the 2022 season include:
These quadrivalent vaccines include the following strains:
All influenza vaccines available for seasonal use in Australia are listed in the Australian Immunisation Handbook under Vaccines, dosage and administration.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration website provides product information and consumer medicine information for each vaccine available.
New season influenza vaccines under the NIP are expected to be available from April. Timing may be different for your local area. Check with your immunisation provider to find out when they will have the vaccine available and when you will be able to book in to have the vaccine.
Annual influenza vaccine should occur anytime from April onwards to be protected for the peak flu season, which is generally June to September. The highest level of protection occurs in the first 3 to 4 months following vaccination.
However, it is never too late to vaccinate since influenza can circulate in the community all year round.
Pregnant women should receive the vaccine at any stage during pregnancy.
Influenza vaccines can be given on the same day with a COVID-19 vaccine.