With Winter approaching and COVID-19 still a risk, it is more important than ever to have your influenza (flu) shot. The flu shot protects you against the strains of flu that are most active each year. Make sure you and your family stay healthy this flu season and get your free flu shot today.
Flu Shot for Healthcare professionals
It’s important to make sure all Health Care Workers working in AMSs are vaccinated against the flu each year. All Health Care Workers should receive a flu vaccine each year to protect themselves and their patients from the flu.
Seasonal Influenza Preparedness Toolkit
All Aboriginal people over 6 months of age are eligible for free annual influenza vaccine through the National Immunisation Program. AH&MRC recommends aiming for broad uptake of influenza vaccine in our communities to prevent the impact and spread of flu. Elders, pregnant women and people living with chronic health conditions are at higher risk of serious illness from flu and should be supported in getting their vaccine every year.
The AH&MRC Seasonal Influenza Preparedness Toolkit provides practical advice for our Members on preparing and responding to the annual flu season.
Flu vaccines during COVID-19
This year both influenza and COVID-19 vaccines will be available in Australia. The flu vaccine does not prevent COVID-19 but plays an important role in reducing the impact that flu has on the health system during the COVID-19 pandemic. Elders and people living with chronic health conditions are at higher risk of serious illness from both influenza and COVID-19.
NSW Health has produced advice about enhanced infection control procedures for vaccination clinics during the COVID-19 pandemic, available on their website.
Don’t forget Pneumococcal vaccination
Aboriginal people over 50 years of age or younger and living with certain chronic conditions are eligible for free vaccination against Pneumococcal disease. Please see the Australian Immunisation Handbook for more information.
Who should get the flu shot?
Anyone over the age of 6 months should get the flu shot including:
- Pregnant women
- People living with chronic health conditions
This will help prevent the flu from spreading in your community this Winter.
Is the flu shot free?
Yes. The flu shot is available free for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples over the age of 6 months old.
Why should I get a flu shot?
The flu shot is your best protection from getting sick with the flu. It helps you build immunity to strains of the virus that will be most active this flu season. Vaccination also helps to prevent more serious sickness if you catch the flu and helps prevent the spread to others in your family and community.
Where can I get the flu shot?
You can get the flu shot from your local AMS or doctor. Bring your family along for theirs too. Make sure you call ahead and check your AMS has flu vaccinations in stock.
When is the best time to get the flu shot?
The best time to get the flu shot is mid-April when the updated flu shots become available each year. Getting the flu shot early will help to protect you until your next annual flu shot. Ask for your free flu shot during an appointment or call and schedule a time for you and your family to visit your local AMS or GP.
Are there any other ways I can prevent catching and spreading the flu?
As well as getting the flu shot, you can prevent the spread of the flu by coughing and sneezing safely into a tissue or your elbow and washing your hands properly with soap and water straight away after sneezing.
Myths About the Flu
There are alot of myths circulating on the internet and social media about the flu, so it’s important to share the facts with your networks:
Myth: The flu shot will make me immune to COVID-19
Fact: The flu shot does not prevent you from getting COVID-19, but getting the flu shot will help protect your community and reduce the impact on the health system. This year both flu and COVID-19 vaccines are available in Australia.
Myth: The flu shot can give me the flu
Fact: The flu shot cannot give you the flu. It is not a live vaccine. Some people experience mild symptoms after the flu shot – this is your body developing immunity to the virus. Some people are unlucky and catch the flu before the flu shot begins to work.
Myth: I had a flu shot last year, I don’t need one this year.
Fact: The flu virus changes and evolves all the time. The vaccine is updated every year to fight the most active and common flu viruses, so you should get a flu shot each year to protect yourself, your family and community.
Myth: You can only catch the flu during winter
Fact: Flu season in Australia usually begins in April and ends in October, but people can catch flu all year round.
Myth: the flu shot is not safe during pregnancy
Fact: The flu shot is safe at any stage during your pregnancy. Pregnant women are at higher risk of serious illness from flu. You can get your free flu shot at your next antenatal visit to protect you and your baby.
Myth: You can only spread the flu if you have symptoms
Fact: You can spread the flu to someone else before you know you are sick. It’s important to wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds with soap and water, even if you’re not showing flu symptoms.
Myth: The flu is one virus
Fact: The flu is not one virus, but a family of viruses with many different strains. The virus changes and evolves all the time, creating new strains. This is why you need to get a new flu shot each year.
Myth: The flu shot works right away
Fact: The flu shot can take up to two weeks to work. Make sure you get your flu shot at your local AMS or doctor early this flu season.
Myth: Healthy people do not need a flu shot.
Fact: Anyone, young or old, can get sick with the flu. Getting the flu shot can help all community members. When you get vaccinated you help slow to slow the spread, keeping yourself, your family and community protected from the flu.