Federal Health Minister urges people to get their flu shots

AUSTRALIANS are being urged to head to the doctor to get their annual jab ahead of the looming winter months which historically sees a rise in the number of people being struck down with the flu.

Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley said a new and improved vaccination will be available from Monday and is the best defence against the flu which contributed to more than 3000 Australian deaths annually.

She said the influenza vaccination available under the National Immunisation Program now protected against the three most prevalent flu strains following a severe flu season in the northern hemisphere winter.

"The more people who are vaccinated, the less chance the illness spreads throughout the rest of the community," she said.

"This is particularly true for those Australians who are ill, vulnerable, pregnant or elderly.

"The message is simple . . . get your flu shot before the flu gets you this winter."

The Australian Government provides free flu vaccines for those most at risk and eligible people can get one from their local GP or health care providers.