The amount of health information we’ve been bombarded with over the past two-and-a-half years has been overwhelming. The pandemic has exhausted everyone. But there’s a renewed threat that can’t be dismissed lightly or even postponed – because the flu is back, with a vengeance.

Right now is the time to get a flu shot – without delay.

COVID-19 vaccines do not offer protection from influenza. Health authorities agree it’s crucial to have the flu shot this year because our collective community immunity is lower than ever, thanks to a two-year break from the flu during the pandemic.

Australia’s Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Sonya Bennett says older Australians are especially at risk of serious illness, hospitalisation, and even death from influenza.

“With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s winter season will likely see both an increase in transmission of the coronavirus and, for the first time since 2019, a resurgence in influenza,” Dr Bennett says.

“Getting your flu vaccination ahead of the peak flu season will provide the highest level of protection. This usually occurs from June to September in most parts of Australia. It takes up to two weeks for the vaccine to be completely effective, so organising your vaccination before June is best,” she says.

By now, all adults should have had their third ‘booster’ COVID-19 vaccine. Depending on timing, many people over 65 and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over 50 may have even had their fourth shot, referred to as the ‘winter dose’ and due four months after your third ‘booster’.

COVID vaccination at the same time?

Yes, you can have your COVID-19 booster and flu shot together, if required. Discuss your specific needs with your GP, but the advice from Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Michael Kidd is it’s okay to have the flu vaccine and a COVID-19 vaccine on the same day.

“My recommendation is that you get each vaccine in a separate arm, so if you do get a sore arm, you know which vaccine has caused that particular side effect,” Professor Kidd says.

“It’s safe to have both vaccines carried out on the same day if that’s what you’d like to do,” he says.

“Please get your annual influenza vaccine as soon as you can, and let’s all stay healthy together.”

Professor Kidd says there’s is a special influenza vaccine for those aged 65 and above – your GP will know which vaccine is most suitable for you.

Free influenza vaccines are available to a number of groups in Australia, including:

  • People aged 65 and above;
  • Children aged between six months and five years;
  • Women who are pregnant at any stage of pregnancy;
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged six months and above; and
  • Anyone aged six months and above who has a serious medical condition.


Don’t drop the ball on your own health during these chilly months. It’s so important to take good care of yourself throughout winter – to boost your own immunity through good nutrition and proper sleeping patterns. Vitamins may assist if your dietary intake is inadequate, especially vitamin C and zinc.

RELATED: How to support your immune system through nutrition

Remember, it’s mandatory for all our Home Instead CAREGivers to be vaccinated for both influenza and COVID-19. This offers extra peace of mind to our clients and their families.

Protect yourself from the flu, and book your flu vaccination today. Your CAREGiver can even take you to your appointment! And perhaps you can enjoy a lovely, warm coffee together afterwards.

About Home Instead

Home Instead is a specialist, national provider of high quality, relationship-based, in-home care for older Australians. We help with a range of personal and lifestyle needs while providing welcome companionship. Our services include assistance with personal care, light household duties, meal preparation, medication reminders, and transport to appointments, shopping and social outings. We take personal responsibility for providing the best in-home care and support to meet our clients’ needs and are committed to addressing the individual and national challenges of Australia’s ageing population.