Get a shot to hold off the flu

FEDERAL Health Minister Peter Dutton has urged people to get their annual flu shot.

"Having the flu shot is the single best way to stop flu in its tracks," Mr Dutton said.

The flu and its complications, such as pneumonia, kill about 2800 Australians every year.

It hits the most vulnerable people the hardest, so the federal government provides the vaccine free to:

■ People aged 65 and over;

■ Indigenous Australians aged 15 and over;

■ People over the age of six months who have a chronic condition, such as heart disease, severe asthma or a chronic lung condition; and

■ Pregnant women.

This year's flu vaccine provides protection against the three strains most likely to affect Australians this winter.

This includes two new strains, meaning it's important for people at risk to get vaccinated, even if they have had the vaccination previously.

"Talk with your doctor about if you are eligible for the free flu shot, and fight back against the flu," Mr Dutton said.

"Having the vaccination while pregnant is a simple and effective way to help keep you and your baby safe."

Anyone who doesn't qualify for the free vaccine under the Immunise Australia Program can speak to their GP about buying the flu shot.

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