Flu (influenza)

Contagious virus spread by respiratory droplets, causes tiredness, high fever, chills, headache, cough, sneezing, running nose, poor appetite and muscle aches.

Effects of the disease

The highest rates of flu (influenza) notifications and hospitalisations are seen in children and the elderly.

How to immunise and when

Children can begin to be immunised against the flu (influenza) from six months of age. Flu (influenza) vaccination is recommended each year as the flu (influenza) strains contained in the vaccine change each year. 

The vaccine is free for people aged six months and over with medical conditions such as severe asthma, lung or heart disease, low immunity or diabetes that can lead to complications from the flu (influenza).The vaccine is also free for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged six months to five years.

Children aged 9 years and under are recommended to have two doses, at least four weeks apart, in the first year they receive the vaccine. One dose of the flu (influenza) vaccine is required for subsequent years and for children aged 10 years and over.

Children with severe egg allergy can receive the vaccine. Talk to your doctor or immunisation provider about options available to you.

Only certain brands of the flu (influenza) vaccine are suitable for children. Parents should make sure vaccination providers know the age of their child so they can receive the correct vaccine.

Side effects of immunisation

Common side effects usually occur within one to two days following vaccination and include soreness, redness, pain and swelling at this injection site, drowsiness, tiredness, muscle aches and low grade fever.

If you have any concerns about side effects of vaccines, talk to your doctor or nurse.

Page last updated: 10 Aug 2017