Protect your kids with a free flu vaccine

The best way to protect young children from getting very sick with the flu, is to make sure they are vaccinated.

Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a viral infection which causes fever, headache, muscle aches and pains, runny nose, sore throat, and coughing. In children it can also cause vomiting and diarrhoea.

Flu spreads very easily and quickly between people through coughing, talking, sneezing and contact with contaminated hands, tissues and other infected items. Babies and young children are at a greater risk of becoming really sick, and can end up in hospital and require intensive medical support.

The best way to protect your child from the flu is with a flu vaccination each year. Children 6 months to under 5 years of age are eligible for a free flu vaccination from participating GPs, local councils, community health centres and Aboriginal health centres.

Your flu vaccine questions answered

Q. Are there different strains of flu?

Flu is caused by influenza viruses classified as type A, B or C. Only influenza A and B viruses are included in seasonal flu vaccines as they cause the majority of the flu in humans.

Q. Is a flu vaccine mandatory?

No. However, it is recommended for children between 6 months and 5 years of age as their best protection against flu-related hospitalisation.

Q. Why do children 6 months to under 5 years of age get a free vaccination?

This age group are more likely to be seriously affected by flu and suffer more complications that can lead to hospitalisation.

Q. Is the flu vaccine safe?

Yes. All vaccines in Australia must be registered with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). The TGA evaluates all vaccines to ensure they are safe and effective.

Q. Does my child need a new flu shot every year?

Yes. Immunity from the flu virus fades over time so it is important to get a new vaccine each flu season.

Q. What are the side effects for my child?

Most vaccines can cause mild and short-lasting side effects, such as fever, headache, muscle aches, soreness and swelling at the injection site. These may last one to two days and go away without any treatment. Severe allergic reactions are very rare.

For more information:


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