Who is at Risk
Anybody who does not have immunity from recent infection or vaccination can contract influenza; being fit and healthy doesn't protect you from infection but may assist your recovery. However, infection is more likely to have severe consequences for certain members of the population where infection may lead to a worsening of a pre-existing condition or development of secondary effects or infections. For these people annual vaccination is recommended, and in many cases will be eligible for free vaccination under the National Immunisation Program (NIP).
The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) recommends vaccination for several groups including:
- All adults aged 65 years and over
- All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people ≥15 years of age
People over 6 months of age with any of the following chronic illnesses:
- Heart conditions
- Lung / respiratory conditions including asthma
- Diabetes (and other chronic metabolic diseases)
- Kidney disease
- Impaired immunity
- Chronic neurological conditions including multiple sclerosis and seizure disorders
- Haemoglobinopathies (a range of genetically inherited disorders of red blood cell haemoglobin)
- Pregnant women
- Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
In addition, it is important that people who care for, or are in close contact with, people who are at particular risk, also avoid infection to avert passing it on to them. Annual influenza vaccination is also strongly recommended to travellers and people providing essential community services.
NHMRC also recommends that influenza vaccination can be given to any person aged 6 months or more who wishes to reduce the chance of becoming ill with influenza.
People with a known allergy to vaccine components or a severe egg allergy should avoid vaccination. If you believe that this applies to you it should be discussed with your doctor.
Last updated: January 2014