Flu Vaccination
Frequently Asked

Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. The influenza vaccine has been shown to be effective in preventing illness in about 50-60% of healthy adults under the age of 65 years. This can vary by year, the person’s age and underlying medical conditions. It takes about 2 weeks for the vaccine to become effective and protect the individual against influenza. By vaccinating yourself against influenza you are not only protecting yourself, but everyone around you.



Each year in Australia, influenza results in 18,000 hospitalisations, over 300,000 GP consultations and costs the Australian health care system at least $85 million.

The flu also costs businesses an estimated 1.5 million work days lost each year.

Each year the strains of the influenza virus which are predicted to affect Australians are reviewed and the available vaccines may be changed according to the strains. The protection provided by influenza vaccines can begin to wane after a few months so children and adults need to be re-vaccinated each year before winter.

As with any medications, vaccines can have side effects. The most common side effects following influenza vaccination include mild fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, and injection site reactions. These can occur in the first three days after vaccination and can generally be managed safely at home. Talk with your immunisation provider about what to expect.

Serious side effects are rare. In Australia, we have AusVaxSafety, which monitors the safety of vaccines including seasonal influenza vaccines. This system uses a short SMS survey to ask patients, or parents of children, in a large number of general practices around Australia, if they experienced any health issues in the first few days after vaccination. In 2022, 80% of people that participated in the survey reported no adverse events following immunisation. Of the people that reported an adverse event, the majority were generally mild and short-lived. Only 4% reported missing work, study, school or routine duties and people who reported a reaction were no more likely to see a doctor or go to the emergency department in the days after influenza vaccination than people who did not report a reaction. You can visit AusVaxSafety for further information.

The influenza vaccine will not protect you against COVID-19. However, it will protect you against influenza and help reduce the severity and spread of influenza this winter. For further information about COVID-19 please visit COVID-19 (Coronavirus).


Everyone older than six months should receive the annual influenza vaccine. However, the following groups at higher risk of complications from influenza and are more strongly recommended to receive an influenza vaccine:

  • all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over
  • all children aged 6 months to less than 5 years of age (including Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people and medically at risk people)
  • all individuals aged 5 years and over with medical risk conditions, namely:
    • cardiac disease, including cyanotic congenital heart disease, coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure
    • chronic respiratory conditions, including suppurative lung disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and severe asthma
    • other chronic illnesses requiring regular medical follow up or hospitalisation in the previous year, including diabetes mellitus, chronic metabolic diseases, chronic renal failure, and haemoglobinopathies
    • chronic neurological conditions that impact on respiratory function, including multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, and seizure disorders
    • impaired immunity, including HIV, malignancy and chronic steroid use
    • children aged 6 months to 10 years on long term aspirin therapy
  • pregnant women (influenza vaccine can be given at any stage of pregnancy)
  • people aged 65 years and over (a vaccine that is specifically designed to produce a higher immune response is available for this group).

No. The adjuvanted Fluad® Quad vaccine is only registered for use in people 65 years and over.  The high-dose Fluzone® quadrivalent vaccine is only registered for use in people 60 years and over. Anyone aged less than 65 years of age should be offered an age-appropriate influenza vaccine.

It is important to note that the Australian Technical Advisory Council on Immunisation (ATAGI) do not have a preference to give 60-64 year-old people  Fluzone® over the standard flu vaccine.

Yes. However, people aged 65 and over should receive anenhanced quadrivalent vaccine (Fluad® Quad or FluZone®) over other standard quadrivalent vaccines. The enhanced vaccine has been specially formulated to create a greater immune response amongst the elderly, who are known to have a weaker response to immunisation. However, if Fluad® Quad is not available people aged 65 years and over can safely receive other standard quadrivalent influenza vaccines. 

As our onsite flu program (or any other employer initiated flu program) is not part of the National Immunisation Program (NIP), we do not stock the enahnced flu vaccines recommended for people aged over 65. We do identify your staff who are over 65 and encourage them to see their GP for this vaccine; however, we will offer the quadrivalent flu vaccine on request from an individual even if they are over 65.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on immunisation advises that re-vaccination in the same year is not routinely recommended, however some people may benefit due to personal circumstances such as pregnancy or travel.  Please speak to your GP if you require more information about re-vaccination.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on immunisation advises that revaccination in the same year is not routinely recommended, however some people may benefit due to personal circumstances such as pregnancy or travel.  Please speak with your GP if you would like more information about this.

All pregnant women are recommended to have the influenza vaccine during their pregnancy. Some of the antibodies that your body makes in response to the vaccine pass to your baby during your pregnancy, and this helps protect your baby from influenza in the crucial first few months of life before they can receive the vaccine themselves.

Unfortunately, this protection does not last beyond six months of age. This is why the influenza vaccine is recommended and now funded for all children from six months of age.

Breastfeeding is great, but doesn’t provide enough antibodies to your baby’s system to protect them again influenza.

Yes, persons with egg allergy, including anaphylaxis, can be safely vaccinated with influenza vaccines. Persons with a history of egg anaphylaxis) can receive an age-appropriate full dose of vaccine in any immunisation setting. In general, the flu vaccine has been so purified as to not trigger an immune response for people with egg anaphylaxis, however, persons with a history of anaphylaxis to eggs who have also experienced an allergic reaction to the flu vaccine should be vaccinated in medical facilities with staff experienced in recognising and treating anaphylaxis.

Yes. All influenza vaccines currently available in Australia are latex-free.

The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance has developed an influenza fact sheet and FAQs. The information is available at the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance.

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