It’s now time to book in for the influenza and 4th COVID vaccination shots. Here’s everything you need to know.

People living with HIV are eligible to receive the seasonal influenza vaccine for free under the National Immunisation Program (NIP).

Flu season is on its way and given our increased capacity for socialisation, it’s more important than ever to get your flu vaccine! The Victorian Department of Health recommends that the annual influenza vaccine anytime from mid-April onwards in order to be protected for the peak flu season, which is generally June to September.

Living Positive Victoria Health Promotion Officer Vic Perri encourages all people with HIV to get the flu vax.

“Many of us have been getting COVID-19 shots since mid last year. It is understandable that this has also made us feeling a little over it. Especially if we had to deal with side effects.

Getting a Flu vax is critical now as we head into cooler weather. After a 2-winter hiatus due to many of us being vigilant and being well versed with our mitigation efforts to avoid the coronavirus, the flu is predicted to come roaring back. It will be double challenging too with new coronavirus variants still around and likely to pick up again as they seem to be even more infectious than previous ones.Even though many of us have our HIV well controlled, our immune system is still compromised somewhat.

Getting vaccinated is an efficient and long lasting way of avoiding catching the flu. It’s safe and free for people with HIV. Talk to your primary healthcare giver today.”

Influenza is a highly contagious viral infection that can cause widespread illness and deaths every year. Influenza viruses usually spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. People may spread the virus before they know they are infected.

Influenza vaccination prepares your immune system to fight influenza viruses. The influenza vaccine uses parts of killed viruses to create an immune response following vaccination. The immunity provided by the vaccine can protect you from becoming sick if you get exposed to influenza in the community. This immunity can also reduce the severity of illness if you do get sick. The influenza vaccine cannot give you influenza because it does not contain any live viruses.

A 4th COVID vaccination shot is also highly recommended.

A 4th dose, or second booster shot, will be made available to a range of populations from 4 April, including all people living with HIV.

This booster should be accessed 4 to 6 months after the 3rd shot (initial booster).

With stubborn and persistent COVID infection rates within Victoria, it is recommended that people living with HIV take the opportunity to engage with their doctor for advice, or to go to a vaccination centre/GP or pharmacy to take opportunity to access a second booster to reduce the severity of Covid infection prior to the Victorian winter months ahead of us.

Book your free influenza under the National Immunisation Program (NIP) and your fourth COVID vaccination shot today!

For more information, read the ATAGI advice on seasonal influenza vaccines in 2022, and talk to your GP.

Living Positive Victoria acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land where we work and live. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. We celebrate the stories, culture and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders of all communities who also work and live on this land.