The flu is a highly contagious viral infection that can cause severe illness and life-threatening complications, including pneumonia. The influenza virus is spread by contact with fluids from coughs and sneezes. Most adults are infectious for up to seven days after becoming sick with the flu, so it is best to avoid contact with other people while you are unwell. It is estimated that the flu contributes to over 3,000 deaths in Australia each year.
The influenza virus has a unique ability to change its surface structure, so annual vaccination against the latest version of the flu is strongly recommended by health professionals. Vaccination should ideally occur between March and May each year.
Requirements for students
The Victorian Standardised Student Induction Protocol requires students to be appropriately vaccinated against influenza each year if undertaking clinical placement between 1 June and 31 October. For placements occurring outside of these dates, vaccination is recommended but is not typically required.
Students may provide either of the following as evidence of influenza vaccination:
- Official vaccination record from a medical practitioner or Medicare indicating administration of a dose of influenza vaccine for the current year.
- Written statement from a medical practitioner or immunisation nurse advising administration of one dose of influenza vaccine for the current calendar year. Download the current influenza vaccination form here.
If you obtain vaccination through your employer or placement provider, make sure you obtain appropriate evidence of vaccination per the list above.
The current-year influenza vaccine is typically made available in March-May and it is often in short supply, so you are recommended to arrange vaccination as early as possible.