What is influenza?

The flu (influenza) is a highly contagious viral infection and is often more serious than a common cold. The virus is spread by virus-containing aerosols produced by sneezing, coughing or by direct contact with respiratory secretions.

Who should get the flu vaccination?

In Australia, it is recommended that any person 6 months of age and older get a flu vaccination to reduce the likelihood of becoming ill with influenza. The flu vaccination is available from participating pharmacies for people aged 10 years and over.

Who is eligible for a free flu vaccination?

The National Immunisation Program (NIP) is an established collaborative program involving the Australian Government along with State and Territory governments, to help provide free immunisation for eligible people. Not all pharmacies or pharmacist immunisers have access to these free vaccines. If you believe you may be eligible for a free vaccine, please speak with your pharmacist, GP or other immunisation provider prior to making your appointment. Some providers may charge a consultation fee.

People who may be eligible for free flu vaccines under NIP include:

  • People aged 65 and older

  • Pregnant women

  • All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months or over

  • People aged 6 months and older with medical conditions that put them at risk of complications from the flu

  • Children aged between 6 months and less than 5 years old

When is the best time to get vaccinated?

Protection from the flu vaccine is expected to develop two to three weeks after immunisation, with optimal protection 3 to 4 months following the vaccination. Ideal months for immunisation against the flu are from March to May.

2021 flu vaccinations are expected to be available at your local Direct Chemist Outlet pharmacies from mid-March. It is advised to get your flu shot as soon as it becomes available to avoid overlap with any other vaccinations you may wish to get later in the year.

Please note: It has been recommended that you will need to a two week gap between your flu vaccine and COVID-19.

Is the Flu vaccination safe in pregnancy?

The flu vaccination is recommended for all pregnant woman at any stage of pregnancy, particularly those who will be in the 2nd or 3rd trimester during the influenza season.

Flu Vaccination References: