Influenza (Flu)

Make sure you’re prepared by getting your flu shot from National Health Co-op.

We are providing private-cost flu shots for our members at $15 each. These will be available from mid-March 2018.  

Some members will be eligible to receive a government-funded flu shot through the National Immunisation Program, including:

For a full list of conditions, please see the FAQ below. The government-funded flu shots will be available mid-April 2018.

For more information on influenza please click here

Is it still possible to get the flu even if I’ve had the shot?

Although the flu shot itself cannot cause the flu, it’s not 100% effective. Generally, the flu shot is about 60% effective (which is pretty good!). That’s because the flu bug changes its appearance every year. In addition, those who get the flu shot have a lower risk of severe problems caused by the flu bug, even if it’s not 100% effective in preventing the flu!

Every year, a team of scientists across the world give their “best guess” as to how the flu bug will look and then build a flu shot based upon this information. Their best guesses are correct about 70% of the time.

If you’ve ever had the true flu bug, then you’ll know the flu shot is generally worth it.

How long does it take before you develop symptoms of the flu if exposed?

If you’ve been exposed to someone with the flu bug, you’ll usually start developing symptoms within 2 – 4 days.

If you have the flu you are most infectious BEFORE your symptoms are at their worst. You are generally infectious for 7 days after first being exposed.

When is a flu shot not appropriate?

If you currently have a fever or if you’ve ever had:
     • Guillian-Barre Syndrome; and/or
     • Severe allergic reactions to a previous flu shot, or a component of the flu shot.

In addition, you should advise your vaccinator if:
     • You have a severe chronic disease
     • You have lowered immunity caused by medications or illness
     • You have a bleeding disorder.

What’s the difference between the flu and a cold?
Common Cold Symptoms Flu Bug (Influenza) Symptoms
Sore throat Sore throat
Runny nose Runny nose
Body aches and pains Body aches and pains
Tiredness Tiredness and weakness
Cough Cough
Headaches Headaches
  Fever (usually greater than 38 degrees)
  Sweating and chills


You can prevent transmission of both the common cold and flu bugs by covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and making sure you wash your hands at every opportunity.

How long does it take before I’m immune?

It takes an average of 7-10 days before you have developed your immunity to the flu bug.

What if I have an egg allergy?

The vaccine is made using hens eggs and contains an extremely small amount of egg. However, unless you have a severe allergy to eggs (i.e. anaphylaxis) most people who have mild egg allergies can still take the flu shot.

We need to take extra precautions if you have a mild egg allergy. Please let your vaccinator know of your allergy and we will be happy to help.

How long will the flu shot last?

It depends upon your age and other factors, such as the medications you are taking and if you have a chronic illness. Generally, the flu shot lasts 6 months but begins to wear off after 3-4 months.

I’ve heard the flu shot can make you sick. Is that true?

The flu shot cannot cause the flu, because the viruses in the vaccine have been killed.

It is common (1 in 10 persons) to experience minor cold-like symptoms after being given the flu shot. These minor symptoms may last 1-2 days. These symptoms are a good sign the vaccine is being taken up by your body. If you develop minor cold symptoms, paracetamol (i.e. Panadol) taken regularly as per the manufacturer’s instructions should resolve your symptoms completely within 1-2 days.
If your cold-like symptoms are more than minor, or last for more than 1-2 days, the following may be possible:
          1. You were exposed to a cold or flu virus within a week of receiving the flu shot.
          2. You are having a reaction to the flu shot.

Please see the vaccine information sheet for more information on common side effects of the vaccine.

If you become unwell after your flu shot please make an appointment to seek further advice.
If you are QUITE unwell and feel it is an emergency, please dial 000 and attend an emergency department.

Which chronic conditions are eligible for the free flu shot?

The following chronic health conditions are eligible for the government-funded flu shot:
     • Heart Problems
              o Heart problems that you were born with (i.e. congenital heart defects)
              o History of angina, heart attack or blocked heart arteries (i.e. coronary artery disease)
              o Heart failure
     • Lung Problems
              o Bronchiectasis
              o Cystic Fibrosis
              o Asthma requiring the use of daily medication
              o COPD
              o Emphysema
     • Chronic Neurological Issues
              o Multiple sclerosis (MS)
              o Spinal cord injuries
              o Seizure disorder
     • People with Low Immune Systems (i.e. immunocompromised persons)
              o HIV infection
              o Organ transplant recipients
              o Current cancer diagnosis
              o Your spleen has been removed or not working (i.e. asplenia)
              o People taking medications that suppress the immune system (e.g. prednisolone, methotrexate, etc.)
     • Other
              o Diabetes
              o Kidney failure

If uncertain you are eligible for the government-funded flu shot, check with your health provider.

Is there anything I should know about giving the flu shot to my child?

Only certain brands of flu shots should be given to your child, depending on their age.

In general, a flu shot can be given to children ages 6 months and up.

FluQuadri can only be given to children ages 3 and up.

Children between the ages 6 months to 9 years will require two flu shots separated by 4 weeks the very first year they receive the flu shot. This is so they develop a strong immunity with first exposure to the flu shot.

Which flu shot will you be providing this year?

We will provide the quadrivalent flu vaccine, called FluQuadri. This means the flu shot provides protection against FOUR different types of flu bugs. For more information on the flu shot, please click HERE.