Winter is just around the corner, no doubt bringing with it a nasty flu season. Free flu vaccines are available and if you’re in one of the at risk groups below, now is the time to make an appointment with your GP to see if you should have the shot.
Eligible groups for free government supplied seasonal influenza vaccine include:
- People who are 65 years of age and over
- Pregnant women at any time during their pregnancy
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and older
- Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
- Any person six months of age and older with a chronic condition predisposing to severe influenza illness that requires regular medical follow-up or hospitalisation, including children aged six months to 10 years undergoing long-term aspirin therapy
- People with cardiac disease
- People with chronic respiratory conditions
- People with immunocompromising conditions
- People with renal disease
- People with diabetes and other metabolic disorders
- People with chronic neurological conditions
- People with haematological disorders
- People with obesity (BMI greater than or equal to 30 kg/m2) who also fall under one of the above categories
- People with alcoholism requiring regular medical follow-up or hospitalisation in the preceding year and fall under one of the above categories.
Flu shots are available from your doctor or immunisation provider. It is important to note that whilst the vaccine is free under the National Immunisation Program for certain groups, a consultation fee may apply. Many clinics are, however, running free weekend immunisation sessions, during which you can see a nurse for your shot without a doctor’s consultation fee. To find out more, contact your local GP clinic or your state or territory health department.