Healthy living

Flu vaccine for people aged 65 years and over

  • People aged 65 years and over are at higher risk of serious complications from flu.
  • A free flu vaccine is available for people aged 65 years and over.
  • Getting vaccinated helps to protect you and others in the community.

Why should people aged 65 years and over get the flu vaccine?

Influenza, commonly known as flu, is a highly contagious disease caused by the influenza virus. People aged 65 years and over are at higher risk of serious complications from flu than other healthy adults and are strongly recommended to get immunised against the flu every year.

Even people who are relatively healthy and who rarely get sick are advised to get vaccinated. Getting vaccinated against the flu helps to protect others in the community including those who are at greater risk of influenza complications, such as young children, the elderly and those with medical conditions.

If you don’t catch the flu, you can’t pass it on to others.

When should I get the flu vaccine?

For best protection against flu, people aged 65 years and over are strongly advised to get the flu vaccine every year.

While protection is generally expected to last for the whole season, optimal protection against influenza occurs within the first three to four months following vaccination. Timing of vaccination should aim to achieve the highest level of protection during peak influenza season, usually from June to September in Australia.

Note, after vaccination it can take up to two weeks to develop protection.

Where can people aged 65 years and over get vaccinated? Is it available from pharmacies?

The flu vaccine is available in metropolitan and country WA from immunisation providers including GP clinics, community health clinics and Aboriginal Medical Services.

In 2018, a two year trial (external link) started allowing people aged 65 years and over to get the flu vaccination at some pharmacies. You will need to check with individual pharmacies to see if they are offering the vaccine.

For further information, contact your GP or immunisation provider.

Can I get the flu vaccine for free?

Yes. People aged 65 years and older are eligible to receive free government-funded flu vaccinations.

Note, the vaccine is free however you may be charged a consultation fee. Check costs when making an appointment.

More information

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.