The annual National Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Program commenced in April 2017.
Annual seasonal influenza vaccination is recommended for any person aged 6 months and over who wishes to reduce the likelihood of becoming ill with influenza. Australian Government advice and recommendations on the National Influenza Vaccination Program are available as are links to Australian Government resources.
Free influenza vaccine
Free seasonal influenza vaccine is available for the following people:
- all people aged 65 years and over
- all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 6 months to 5 years
- all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over
- pregnant women
- people aged 6 months and over with medical conditions predisposing to severe influenza, namely:
- cardiac disease, including cyanotic congenital heart disease, coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure
- chronic respiratory conditions, including suppurative lung disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and severe asthma
- other chronic illnesses requiring regular medical follow up or hospitalisation in the previous year, including diabetes mellitus, chronic metabolic diseases, chronic renal failure, and haemoglobinopathies
- chronic neurological conditions that impact on respiratory function, including multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, and seizure disorders
- impaired immunity, including HIV, malignancy and chronic steroid use
- children aged 6 months to 10 years on long term aspirin therapy.
Influenza vaccination during pregnancy
Vaccination remains the best protection pregnant women and their newborn babies have against influenza.
Despite influenza vaccination being available free to pregnant women on the National Immunisation Program, vaccination rates remain low with only 1 in 3 pregnant women receiving the influenza vaccine. Influenza infection during pregnancy can lead to premature delivery and even death in newborns and very young babies. Pregnant women can have the vaccine at any time during pregnancy and they benefit from it all through the year.
Three educational videos are available:
For further information visit the following:
Recommendations for children
Eligible children aged 6-35 months should receive FluQuadri™ Junior while children aged 36 months and older should receive Fluarix Tetra® or FluQuadri™.
An information sheet that explains which groups should receive which vaccine (including children) is included with every delivery of influenza vaccine.
Two doses of influenza vaccine at least one month apart are recommended for children aged less than 9 years who are receiving influenza vaccine for the first time.
Four free vaccines are available under the National Influenza Vaccination Program:
An information sheet that explains which groups should receive which vaccine is included with every delivery of influenza vaccine.
The quadrivalent influenza vaccine for the Australian 2017 season contains the following four virus strains:
- A (H1N1): an A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09** - like virus
- A (H3N2): an A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2) - like virus
- B: a B/Phuket/3073/2013 - like virus
- B: a B/Brisbane/60/2008 - like virus
** new strain (differs from strain in 2016 vaccine)
Latex in vaccines
In 2017, all of the quadrivalent influenza vaccines available under the Naitonal Immunisation Program are latex-free.
General practices can order vaccine online. Ring the State Vaccine Centre on 1300 656 132 if you have not already registered for online ordering. Aged care facilities can order influenza vaccine by submitting an order form. Vaccination clinics should only be scheduled once vaccine has been delivered.
Reporting influenza vaccinations to the AIR
Immunisation providers should report influenza vaccines given to all people to the Australian Immunisation Register (taking care to note the correct vaccine brand name).
Reporting adverse events
Immunisation providers should report any suspected adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) directly to their local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055. More information about AEFIs is available on the Adverse Events Following Immunisation page.