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.

The best time to get vaccinated is in late May or in June as vaccine protection may wane around three to four months after getting immunised. Getting vaccinated around late May or in June will provide protection throughout WA's peak flu season from July to October.

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

What flu vaccine is recommended for people aged 65 years and over?

A vaccine is available that has been designed for people aged 65 years and over.

The vaccine increases the immune system’s response among older adults, who are known to have a weaker response to immunisation. The vaccine includes influenza A (H3N2) which has the greatest impact on people aged over 65 years.

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 pharmacies to provide the free flu vaccine to people aged 65 years and over.

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

Last reviewed: 06-05-2019

Public Health

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.

Where can I get my vaccine?