Health Check

Why you should get the 2022 flu vaccine

More than two years on from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, getting a flu jab this winter is even more important. Here’s why.

Written by Editor Medibank
woman with mask getting bandaid applied after vaccination

As we brace for this year’s cold and flu season, the annual flu vaccine can help protect you from influenza and its complications. And this time it’s even more important.

In recent times, safety measures to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, such as physical distancing and masks, also helped reduce the spread of influenza. This has led to lower levels of flu vaccinations, which in turn may have resulted in lower levels of community immunity1.

And with many COVID-19 restrictions relaxed and international borders reopened, our communities may be more vulnerable to the resurgence of influenza this winter2.

Is it safe to get the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time?

ATAGI says it’s safe for the flu vaccine to be administered on the same day as the COVID-19 vaccine. So, if you’re eligible for your COVID-19 booster shot, this may be a good reminder to get your flu vaccine as well2.

Also, the Department of Health recommends the 2022 flu vaccine for all people aged 6 months and older2.

Can you catch the flu from the vaccine?

This is one of the biggest myths about the vaccine. There is no live virus in the shot, so it can’t cause you to get the flu. A small percentage of people may experience side effects such as fever and headache that mimic flu symptoms, but these effects are usually mild and should resolve themselves within a few days. Generally, any reactions will occur within a few hours of vaccination and last no longer than 24 to 48 hours3.

While protection is generally expected to last throughout the year, the highest level of protection occurs in the first 3 to 4 months after vaccination1.

Fast flu facts4

Spreading
Influenza (the flu) is a contagious disease which usually spreads through sneezing, coughing, and touching contaminated surfaces. 

Prevention
Annual vaccination is the most important measure to protect yourself from changing flu strains and serious flu complications. Side effects of the flu vaccine are mild such as aches, pains, feeling tired and mild fevers.

Timing
Ideally, you should get your vaccination before the start of the flu season (typically peak season in Australia is June – September). 
 

Am I eligible for a free flu vaccine?

Under the National Immunisation Program (NIP), some people from special risk groups are eligible to receive a free flu vaccination from their GP. This includes:

  • if you have a medical condition that means you have a higher risk of getting serious disease
  • if you identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres-Strait Islander
  • if you are pregnant
  • people aged 65+
  • children aged 6 months to 5 years.

People from these special risk groups should speak with their GP before booking a flu vaccination. It’s recommended children under 10 get their flu vaccination from their GP. Consultation fees may apply.

The flu vaccine is free for eligible Medibank members*

Eligible Medibank members with Hospital or Extras cover can get a free flu vaccine at their nearest participating Amcal or Guardian pharmacies.

This offer is available until 31 August 2022. 

Written by Editor Medibank

Previous article

Medibank programs for treating and managing osteoarthritis

Next article

Bouncing back from the flu

Related articles

Related articles

References

1 Source: ATAGI, Statement on the administration of seasonal influenza vaccines in 2022, retrieved Apr 2022.

2 Source: Australian Government Department of Health, 2022 influenza vaccination – early advice for vaccination providers, retrieved Apr 2022.

3 Source: Australian Government Department of Health, Help stop the flu in 2022, retrieved Apr 2022.

4 Source: Australian Government Department of Health, Influenza (flu) vaccine, retrieved Apr 2022.

Things you should know

* Flu vaccination may not be suitable for everyone – consult your GP or pharmacist regarding whether it is right for you. People from high-risk groups should seek advice from their medical practitioner. The flu vaccination reward is only available for redemption once per member, per calendar year. Vouchers are not transferable and can only be used by the person whose name is on the voucher or dependent children of suitable ages. Available at participating pharmacies only. Vouchers must be presented in pharmacy at the time of vaccination. Details listed on the voucher may be provided back to Medibank for the purposes of invoicing, however personal health information provided in the pre-screening form or discussed with your pharmacist will not be disclosed to any party. Offer available between 7th April 2022 and 31st August 2022, subject to change and while stocks last. Please allow up to 3 business days to receive your voucher. Voucher will be sent to the email address linked to your Live Better account at time of redemption.

Must be a Medibank member with hospital cover, extras cover, or hospital and extras cover, be up-to-date with premium payments and have signed up to Medibank Live Better with ‘My Medibank’ or have linked their My Medibank account with their Live Better account to redeem this reward. Excludes Overseas Visitor health cover, Working Visa health cover, Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC), Ambulance only cover, ahm covers and other selected covers. Live Better Management Pty Ltd, ACN 003 457 289 has entered into commercial arrangements with Medibank Live Better program partners and may receive commissions. Reward will be subject to Program Partner terms and conditions.