Health Minister Nicola Roxon is appealing to the public to be vaccinated, particularly those vulnerable to the virus such as pregnant women, the chronically ill, elderly and Indigenous Australians.

Australians are warned to prepare themselves for the flu season, as the authorities try to stop another swine flu pandemic.

Though the flu season in Australia officially starts in May, there have already been 50 confirmed cases of swine flu this year.

The free vaccine, PanvaxH1N1 is available to all Australians aged six months and older for the flu season this year.

Ms Roxon said, To help people understand the risks swine flu poses to the community and the need for all people to get vaccinated the Australian government is launching the Facts about Swine Flue campaign.

Last year, the total of cases of swine flu were 37, 636 which included 191 related deaths. The average age of those who died was 53 years, compared to 83 years for seasonal influenza, according the statement.

Armed with these facts about what happened in Australia last year I am urging people, particularly parents, to get swine flu vaccine for themselves and their families now.

It's safe, it's effective and it's free for everyone six months and older.

People are encouraged to get immunized now and help reduce the pressure on vaccination providers when the winter flu season begins, said Ms Roxon.