Get your Flu Vaccination

The 2021 Flu Vaccination is now available in store at National Pharmacies.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the flu?

Flu (influenza) is caused by a virus which is spread through the air by fluids produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or by direct contact with these fluids on surfaces or objects. The flu virus is highly contagious and you usually experience symptoms 5 to 7 days after contact. Flu symptoms are not the same as common cold symptoms. Flu symptoms, which can last for weeks, are more severe and include high fever, muscular aches and pains, headache, coughing and sore throat. It is estimated that each year, flu contributes to an average of 13,500 hospitalisations and more than 3,000 deaths among Australians aged over 50 years.

Why should I have the flu vaccine?

Vaccination is the best defence against the flu. The flu vaccine stimulates the body to make antibodies, which fight the influenza virus. If you have been vaccinated, when you come into contact with the influenza virus, your body is better prepared to quickly destroy the virus, which helps to prevent you from getting the flu. Even if you are still unfortunate and get the flu, the vaccine reduces the severity of the virus. The flu can also worsen underlying medical conditions such as heart conditions, asthma and respiratory conditions, diabetes, kidney disease, impaired immunity and neuromuscular disease, giving these people an even higher risk of complications from the flu.

Is there a waiting period between COVID-19 vaccination and influenza vaccination?

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has released advice on the relative timing of administering influenza and COVID-19 vaccines. The current advice is that the preferred minimum interval between a dose of seasonal influenza vaccine and a COVID-19 vaccine is 14 days. An influenza vaccine may be given between doses of a COVID-19 vaccine as long as the minimum interval between vaccines is 14 days before or after. You will be asked to confirm if and when you received your COVID-19 vaccination prior to receiving your influenza vaccination.

Who can have the flu vaccine?

A flu vaccination is recommended for all people aged over 6 months. National Pharmacies is offering the flu vaccination service for people aged 10 years and older.

Which flu vaccines are National Pharmacies offering?

National Pharmacies is providing a quadrivalent (4 strain) vaccine as part of their flu vaccination service.

It is recommended that you receive the influenza vaccination over the standard vaccine. This is available in SA & NSW from your GP by mid-April and in Victoria may be available from your pharmacy through the NIP (National Immunisation Program) please contact the pharmacy to check for stock.  

Do I need a prescription?

No, a prescription is not required if you are having one of our qualified health professionals administer (inject) the vaccine to you in store.

What is the price?

The member’s price for the vaccination is $13.99, the retail price is $19.99.

What does the quadrivalent influenza vaccine contain?

A/Victoria/2570/2019 (H1N1)pdm09-like strain
A/Hong Kong/2671/2019 (H3N2)-like strain
B/Washington/02/2019-like (B/ Victoria lineage) virus
B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (B/ Yamagata lineage) virus

Who is administering the vaccination at National Pharmacies?

Flu vaccinations are administered by a qualified health professional and are only administered subject to a health assessment and consent prior to vaccination.

I have heard that the flu vaccine can give you the flu, is that true?

No, flu vaccines do not contain a live virus so therefore cannot give you the flu. What you can get is common mild side effects that are similar to flu symptoms.

I received a flu shot last year, do I need to get another one this year?

Yes. Immunity decreases over time and flu vaccination is needed each year to ensure you continue to be protected. The composition of the vaccine changes every year. Vaccination is recommended in Autumn (March-May) to allow time for immunity to be strengthened before the flu season starts.

I am fit and healthy so I will be fine without the flu vaccination?

Being fit and healthy does not protect you from the flu and it is still recommended that you get a flu vaccination.

Do I have to make a booking?

National Pharmacies have walk in appointments available at selected stores, subject to the availability of the vaccine and our health professionals. If you are interested in a walk in appointment, we do recommend that you call ahead to confirm the availability of the vaccine and health professional.

Do I need a valid medicare card?

No, a Medicare card is not required.

What will be provided to me after my vaccination?

You will be provided with a vaccination record detailing the date of vaccination, the brand and the batch number of the flu vaccine administered.

Am I eligible for a free flu vaccination under the National Immunisation Program (NIP) from my GP?

As part of the Australian Government National Immunisation Program (NIP), a free flu vaccination is available from a GP for eligible people who face a high risk from influenza and its complications.

Eligible people include:

  • Those aged 65 years and over
  • Pregnant women (including those in the first trimester)
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months up to 5 years
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 15 years of age and over
  • People six months of age or older with medical conditions such as asthma, lung or heart disease, low immunity or diabetes that can lead to complications from influenza.

If you are eligible to receive your influenza vaccination under the NIP, please visit your local GP as vaccinations under the NIP cannot be administered in the pharmacy. It is important to note that while the vaccine is free, a GP consultation fee may apply. National Pharmacies in Victoria are able to vaccinate as part of the NIP. A small administration fee applies.

Who is not able to have the flu vaccination?

There are some people that the flu vaccination may not be suitable for. If you fall into one of the categories below, please contact your GP prior to receiving the flu vaccination.

  • Patients who currently have an illness resulting in a fever greater than or equal to 38.5oC
  • People with a lowered immunity caused by either a medical condition or medical treatment.
  • People who have had a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis following a previous dose of the vaccine in question, or to a component of the vaccine.
  • Patient with a history of Guillian Barré syndrome
  • Patient with a bleeding disorder
  • Patients with severe chronic diseases

It is important that before receiving the vaccine you make sure to tell your immuniser if you (or your child):

  • Are unwell (have a temperature over 38.5˚C)
  • Have allergies to any other medications or substances
  • Have had a serious reaction to any vaccine
  • Have had a serious reaction to any component of the vaccine
  • Have had a severe allergy to anything
  • Have had an severe allergy reaction to eggs – the virus used in the vaccine is grown in eggs
  • Are under six months of age
  • Have had Guillain-Barré syndrome.

If you have any concerns at all as to whether the flu vaccine is right for you, please contact your GP before receiving the flu vaccine.

Are there any side effects with the flu vaccination?

The flu vaccine can cause a range of common side effects including:

  • Drowsiness or tiredness
  • Muscle aches
  • Localised pain, redness and swelling at the injection site
  • Occasionally, an injection-site lump (nodule) that may last many weeks but needs no treatment
  • Low-grade temperature (fever).

Common side effects following immunisation are usually mild and temporary (occurring only in the first few days after vaccination) and treatment is not usually required.

There is a very small risk of a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to any vaccine. This is why you are advised to remain in the pharmacy for at least 15 minutes following vaccination in case further treatment is required. Apart from anaphylaxis, other extremely rare side effects include febrile convulsions in children.

If the side effect following immunisation is unexpected, persistent or severe, or if you are worried about yourself or your child’s condition after a vaccination, contact your GP immediately, or attend your nearest hospital emergency room or, if required, call 000.


For all enquiries related to bookings (i.e. making, rescheduling or cancelling a booking as well as booking times) please refer to our online booking portal here or contact the pharmacy in which you wish to receive your flu vaccination from. Walk in appointments may be available at selected stores. Please call your pharmacy to confirm.


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