Free flu vaccinations

The flu vaccine is free for all Queenslanders aged 6 months and older.

If you’ve already paid for your flu vaccine, or you pay for one up until 30 September 2024, we’ll reimburse you.

Fill in and email our vaccination reimbursement form [PDF 495 KB] to You can also email us if you’d like more information.

What is the flu?

Influenza, or the flu, is a highly contagious viral infection that infects your upper airways and lungs.

You're more likely to get the flu in winter, but in tropical and subtropical areas like Queensland, it can be present all year round. Flu cases usually peak in the winter months.

Most people get better within a week, but sometimes a cough and tiredness can last longer.

A small number of people get pneumonia, inflammation of the heart muscle or have neurological problems.  Although it's rare, some get encephalitis, a life threatening brain inflammation.

Having a cold or the flu

Colds and the flu are both viral respiratory illnesses, but they're caused by different viruses.

Flu symptoms are usually more severe and last longer, while colds usually pass in a few days.

It can be hard to tell which one you have, because they can have similar symptoms.

Who's at risk?

Flu vaccination is recommended for all people aged 6 months and older. Flu is the most common vaccine preventable disease in Australia. Although it can be a mild disease, it can also cause very serious illness in otherwise healthy people. It can require hospitalisation and can even lead to death.

People at most risk are:

  • babies and young children under 5 years of age
  • people aged 65 years and older
  • pregnant people, at any stage of pregnancy
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • people with medical conditions such as kidney, heart or lung disease, blood or metabolic disorders, and immunocompromising or neurological conditions
  • children in long-term aspirin therapy.

Signs and symptoms

You'll usually get symptoms 1 to 3 days after getting infected. These may include:

  • a fever
  • a sore throat
  • a dry cough
  • headaches
  • muscle or joint pain
  • tiredness or exhaustion.

Children are more likely to have nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Elderly people might not get a fever or have other common symptoms. They may instead be confused or have trouble breathing. If they have a chronic health condition, it may get worse.

How it spreads

You can infect other people from 24 hours before you have any symptoms to a week afterwards.

You'll usually get the flu from:

  • an infected person coughing or sneezing near you
  • touching contaminated surfaces, such as hands, remote controls, phones, keyboards and door handles, and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.

Children and people with a compromised immune system can be infectious for longer.


The best way to protect yourself is to get vaccinated every year and practise good hygiene. You need a vaccine every year because the strains change each year. The best time to get vaccinated is before the flu season starts.

This includes:

  • staying at home if you're sick and not seeing other people
  • washing your hands often with soap and water or using a hand sanitiser
  • sneezing or coughing into your arm or a tissue
  • throwing away used tissues and washing your hands after coughing or sneezing
  • staying 1.5 metres (2 big steps) away from anyone who's coughing or sneezing
  • cleaning surfaces like benches and desks with detergent or an anti-bacterial spray
  • not sharing cups, glasses, cutlery, lip balm, toys or anything that may have touched someone else's mouth or nose.


There's no specific treatment for the flu and you'll usually start feeling better in about a week or so.

It can help to:

  • rest and drink plenty fluids, such as water, to avoid dehydration
  • take paracetamol or ibuprofen to relieve a high temperature.

Where to get vaccinated

Getting vaccinated is easy. The free flu vaccine is available from your GP, pharmacies and other vaccination service providers.

You can get the flu vaccine at the same time as a COVID-19 vaccine.

Find out where to get vaccinated.

When to get help

In an emergency, call triple zero (000) and ask for an ambulance.

If you're not sure whether to go to an emergency department, call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) or see your GP if you:

  • are worried about your symptoms
  • are in a high risk group
  • have a fever of 38º C or more that isn't improving.

Find out more

For more information about vaccination, contact your health provider or call 13 HEALTH(13 43 25 84) .

Find a vaccination provider

Information in your language

You can find information about vaccination in your language on the  Queensland Government website.

Last updated: April 2024