Published 27 May 2022

With the focus on COVID-19 for the past few years, influenza (flu) season has crept up on many of us this year.

Influenza rates have been low since the COVID-19 pandemic began, mainly due to the social distancing, mask wearing, hand hygiene and work from home measures we are all now familiar with, combined with closed borders and travel restrictions.

Now that Australia has predominantly moved to COVID-normal settings, the flu vaccination is one we definitely don’t want to forget. With the increased movement of people, 2022 is widely tipped to be a bad flu season.

Timing your flu shot

The flu season in Australia runs from June to September, peaking in August. Your immunity is at its strongest 3-4 months following a flu vaccination, so it makes sense to try to time your vaccination during April or May each year.

However, it is never too late to vaccinate since influenza can circulate in the community all year round.

Getting your flu shot is super easy – chemists, doctors and some workplaces can provide this.

It’s also free to those considered vulnerable, including:

  • Pregnant women
  • People aged 65 years and over
  • Children aged between 6 months and 5 years
  • All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over
  • People aged 6 months and over with certain medical conditions that increase their chance of severe influenza

Can I catch both the Flu and COVID-19?

Unfortunately, you can get the flu and COVID-19 at the same time, with this risk being higher coming into winter. Emerging research shows that adults in hospital who have the flu and COVID-19 at the same time are at much greater risk of severe disease and death when compared with patients who just have COVID-19. This is why it’s important to ensure you get your flu vaccination AND have your COVID-19 booster if you haven’t already. Influenza vaccines can be given on the same day with a COVID-19 vaccine.

Flu symptoms can be similar to those of COVID-19, so if you feel any symptoms and you’re not sure, it’s always best to do a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) or PCR test for COVID-19. You will need to visit a GP to get tested for influenza.

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