HomeHealthVaccinations – are yours up to date?

Vaccinations – are yours up to date?

Although the weather is still warm in much of Australia, we are nearing the end of the first month of autumn. That means winter is creeping up on us. And with it comes colds and maybe even flu if you happen to be unlucky. Of course, there is a way reduce your chances of being unlucky – vaccinations.

Now, before the weather turns too cold, is a good time to plan which vaccinations you should take. This is especially true for those over 60, who are statistically more likely to fare  worse from flu-like illnesses. 

So what are the vaccinations recommended for over-60s at this time of year?


The most commonly recommended vaccination for the colder months is the influenza vaccination. In fact, the Australia’s Department of Health and Aged Care recommends it for most people six months or older.

In particular, though, it recommends flu vaccination for the two most vulnerable age groups, under-fives and over-60s. 

The reason for the blanket recommendation is simple: influenza is the most common vaccine-preventable disease in Australia. While it can be mild, with symptoms similar to a common cold, it can also cause very serious illness. This is even possible in otherwise healthy people. It can require hospital admission, and can even cause death.

I had a flu vaccination last year – won’t that be enough?

Unfortunately not. Influenza is caused by an RNA virus that mutates rapidly, unlike the DNA-based chickenpox virus, for example. By the time this winter rolls around, the flu vaccine you had last winter probably won’t ‘recognise’ last year’s versions.

Each year the Australian Influenza Vaccine Committee (AIVC) considers World Health Organization flu vaccine composition recommendations. It also analyses Australian virus circulation data, using combined knowledge to decide which flu strains to include in Australia’s vaccines. 

What other vaccinations should I consider?

In terms of seasonal prevention, the influenza vaccination is the only one specifically recommended ahead of winter. However, the Australian government also recommends staying up to date with other vaccines. For over-60s, this  includes a COVID-19 booster.

COVID-19: with COVID no longer front of mind for many, you may have forgotten if you are up to date with your vaccines. The good news is you can find out through your COVID-19 digital certificate, which you can access through the Express Plus Medicare app or myGov.

Shingles: vaccinations are available for shingles, a disease caused by the reactivation of the chickenpox virus. It is certainly worth considering this vaccination, but it is expensive. However, for Australians aged 65 years and over and First Nations people aged 50 years and over, it’s free.

Others: there is a range of other vaccinations that may be worth considering, depending on your age, health status or travel plans. A list of vaccine-preventable diseases can be found via this Department of Health and Aged Care web page.

Staying warm this winter may be a challenge, but if you’re vaccinated you’ll increase your chances of staying healthy.

Do you get a flu vaccination each year before winter? Are you up to date with your COVID boosters? Let us know via the comments section below.

Also read: TGA approves RSV vaccine for Australians over 60

Health disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.

Andrew Gigacz
Andrew Gigaczhttps://www.patreon.com/AndrewGigacz
Andrew has developed knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income and government entitlements, as well as issues affecting older Australians moving into or living in retirement. He's an accomplished writer with a passion for health and human stories.


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