Guide to the flu shot for 2019

How to avoid getting the flu this winter

What’s new in 2019? 

This year there are free vaccines for children aged 6 months to 5 years old, people over 65 get a more potent vaccine as they need greater protection, and pregnant women are strongly advised to get flu shots at the same time as whooping cough vaccinations to protect their baby from both.

Who should get a flu shot?

 A flu shot is recommended for everybody over 6 months of age as it is the best defence against the flu. 

Am I eligible for a FREE flu shot?

The flu vaccine is free for:

  • Children from 6 months to 5 years of age
  • Indigenous people over 15 years of age
  • Anybody over 65 years of age
  • Pregnant women
  • People with a chronic disease (see further details below)

Remember the flu vaccine is safe (and highly recommended) for both children and pregnant women. 

Can I catch flu from the flu vaccine?

Dr Hamish Meldrum, GP Obstetrician and Ochre Health’s Director of Medical Services says, “The flu vaccine is not a live vaccine and therefore you cannot contract the flu virus from it. However, a small percentage of people may experience low-grade fevers and muscle aches after the shot. This is simply their immune system responding to the vaccine and the symptoms should clear up within a few days.” 

Is the flu vaccine safe if I’m pregnant?

The latest vaccines are safe at any stage of pregnancy for both mother and her unborn baby.

Dr Meldrum strongly recommends pregnant women get vaccinated this year. He says, “The flu vaccine is an important part of protecting mums and babies. If you are coming in for your whooping cough immunisation between 20 and 32 weeks of pregnancy, don’t forget to ask for your flu vaccine as well.”

If you had a flu shot while pregnant in 2018 and you are still pregnant, it is safe to have a second flu shot this year. 

Does a chronic disease put me at greater risk of severe flu?

Yes, it does. For this reason, the government has made the free flu vaccines available for you.

People with chronic illnesses such as cardiac disease, chronic respiratory conditions, chronic neurological conditions, diabetes and other metabolic disorders, renal disease, haematological disorders and impaired immunity all qualify for a free flu vaccine. Ask your doctor if you are unsure whether your condition qualifies you for a free vaccine. 

Why is the flu vaccine free for young children?

State and territory governments are now providing free flu vaccinations for young children between six months and five years of age as they are more likely than adults to be hospitalised with a severe flu infection. The vaccines are both safe and effective for them. Protecting this age group of young children with vaccinations also helps to stop the spread of infection to newborn babies who are vulnerable and too young to receive a vaccination.

When is the right time to get a flu shot?

While people can be affected by the flu at any time, the main flu season is over winter, peaking between June and September. As the flu vaccine provides the most protection in the first three to four months after it is received, May is the ideal time to be immunised.


Don’t delay! Go to and book your flu shot online.

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