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. Please click here for information about influenza and click here for information about influenza vaccination. Australian Government advice and recommendations on the National Influenza Vaccination Program are available on the Immunise Australia website and links to Australian Government resources (including factsheets, posters and brochures) are available here.   
 

Vaccine strains

The influenza vaccine for the Australian 2014 influenza season contains the following three virus strains:
  • an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09 - like strain
  • an  A/Texas/50/2012 (H3N2) - like strain
  • a B/Massachusetts/2/2012 - like strain
 

Free influenza vaccine

Under the National Influenza Vaccination Program, free seasonal influenza vaccine is available for the following people:
  • all people aged 65 years and over
  • 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         
 

Latex in vaccines

In 2014, three seasonal influenza vaccines are provided free for eligible people under the National Immunisation Program:
    • Fluvax® is latex-free
    • Vaxigrip® is latex-free
    • Fluarix® is not latex-free
 

Recommendations for children

Fluvax®  is NOT APPROVED for use in children less than 5 years of age. Two doses of influenza vaccine at least one month apart are recommended for children aged less than 10 years who are receiving influenza vaccine for the first time. The same vial must not be used for the two doses.

Each vaccine delivery will include alternative vaccine (either Vaxigrip® or Fluarix®) that can be administered to children aged
6 months to <10 years. An information sheet that explains how to administer a paediatric dose of vaccine will also be included. 

Ordering vaccines

The distribution of seasonal influenza vaccine will commence in the last week of February 2014 to allow for the start of the National Influenza Vaccination Program in mid-March 2014. General practices can order vaccine now online (click here). 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 now, using this order form (click here). Vaccination clinics should only be scheduled once vaccine has been delivered.
 

Reporting Influenza Vaccinations and Adverse Events

Immunisation providers are encouraged to report all influenza vaccines given to children up to 7 years of age to the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (taking care to note the correct vaccine brand name) and any adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) directly to their local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055.
Page Updated: Thursday 30 January 2014
Page Owner: Immunisation