Bendigo Health’s Lee Cassells receives a flu shot from Robyn Freeman. Photo: ANDREW PERRYMAN

Central Victorians are being urged to vaccinate themselves against influenza ahead of the impending flu season.

Young infants, pregnant women and those aged over 65 are considered the groups most at risk from the flu.

Bendigo Health’s Director of Infection Prevention Control Jane Hellsten said that people are presenting sooner for the flu vaccine this year.

Ms Hellsten dispelled the myth that a flu vaccine can in fact give you the flu shortly after you receive the vaccine.

“It’s not a live vaccine. It’s the time of year when we catch flus and colds, so when people are coming in for their vaccination they could already be incubating a virus,” Ms Hellsten said.

“After the flu shot you could feel lethargic for a couple of days. Our advice would be to rest. It’s not the flu, it’ just your response to the vaccination and means your immune system is kicking in,” she said.

An average of three people each week have been admitted to Bendigo Health’s Emergency Department during the past few months due to unseasonal influenza in the summer and autumn months.

The flu is much more severe than the common cold, which Australians contract on average five times a year.

Headaches, muscle aches and pains and respiratory symptoms are a hallmark of the flu and don’t tend to occur with a common cold.