Influenza, also known as the flu, is a highly contagious respiratory illness spread through bodily fluids from infected people. Transmission is typically preventable with vaccination and treated with symptom management.
After two years of low infection rates due to COVID-19 health restrictions, the 2022 flu season has arrived earlier than usual. To date, over 87,989 cases have been reported to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) in Australia. Of which, 47,860 cases were reported in the last fortnight. Since mid-April 2022, the total weekly number of laboratory-confirmed cases has exceeded the five-year average.
Health experts recommend that individuals receive the influenza vaccine as soon as possible if they have not already received it. Several states are offering free flu vaccines.
Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
In the ACT, vulnerable Australians are eligible for a free flu vaccination. This includes children between six months and five years of age, pregnant women, individuals aged 65 and above, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over six months, and people over six months of age with underlying medical conditions.
New South Wales (NSW)
NSW has announced there will be a “month-long blitz” of free flu jabs starting June 1 and ending June 30 for anyone over six months of age.
Northern Territory (NT)
In the NT, vulnerable Australians are eligible for a free flu vaccination, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, vulnerable people and young children.
Individuals over six months of age can get free influenza vaccinations until June 30.
South Australia (SA)
In SA, everyone over six months of age can get the flu shot for free until June 30.
Tasmanians aged five and over are eligible for a free vaccine at Community COVID & Flu Vaccination Clinics.
At this stage, the Victorian Government is yet to announce a free flu vaccination programme.
Western Australia (WA)
Western Australians over the age of six months can get a free flu jab from June 1 until June 30