Flu vaccines are available in your local pharmacy

Annual vaccination is the most important measure to prevent influenza and its complications. It is recommended for all people aged 6 months and over. Influenza (flu) vaccines are given each year to protect against the most common strains of the virus.

Flu vaccines are given as an injection, usually in the upper arm. It is important to get the right vaccine for your age. Your community pharmacist can tell you which vaccine they will use for you or your child.

Pharmacists are trained to administer vaccines and can be accessed conveniently in your local pharmacy.

Why is flu vaccination important?

The flu is a highly contagious respiratory infection that can cause severe illness.

By getting vaccinated, you not only reduce your risk of serious illness but also help prevent the disease from spreading to vulnerable people.

Who should get vaccinated against influenza?

Vaccination against influenza is recommended for everyone aged 6 months and over. Patients in all states except QLD can be vaccinated in a community pharmacy from age 5. In QLD, pharmacists can vaccinate infants from 6 months of age.

Some people are eligible to get the flu vaccine for free under the National Immunisation Program (NIP). Community pharmacists can administer free flu vaccination to the following groups:

  • Children aged 5 years (two doses are recommended and funded in the first year of vaccination)
  • Adults aged 65 years and over
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from 5 years of age
  • Pregnant women
  • People aged 5 to <65 years who have certain medical conditions.

You can find information about NIP vaccines on the Department of Health and Aged Care website.

In some states and territories, flu vaccines may also be provided for free to people not listed above. Speak to your local community pharmacist or contact your state or territory health department to find out more.

If you’re not eligible for a NIP funded flu vaccine, a community pharmacist can still administer your vaccine and may charge a fee.

Pregnant women can receive the vaccine at any stage during pregnancy.

When should I get vaccinated?

Flu season generally runs from May to October each year, but the timing of peak flu season can vary by geographic location and from one year to the next. The peak period of circulation of the flu usually occurs from June to September in most parts of Australia.

Ideally you should receive your annual flu vaccination before the start of the flu season, with optimal protection occurring in the first three to four months following vaccination.

If you are planning international travel, ensure you have had your vaccination at least two weeks before departure, or at your earliest opportunity.

Flu vaccines and COVID-19

It’s safe to have a flu vaccine when you’re also receiving another vaccine – like COVID, and your pharmacist can take care of both.

Allergy advice

Some vaccines contain minute traces of egg but are still safe for people with egg allergy, including anaphylaxis. If you have an allergy, you can discuss it with the pharmacist administering your vaccine.

If you have previously experienced an allergic reaction following a flu vaccine, you should not receive a flu vaccine.

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