NSW Health is delivering National Immunisation Program (NIP) influenza vaccine to providers as soon as it arrives at the NSW Vaccine Centre from vaccine suppliers under Australian Government contract and orders are placed by providers as described below. The NSW quota of NIP influenza vaccines arrive at the NSW Vaccine Centre over many weeks. Not all stock is available at the one time.

Ordering influenza vaccines

Orders for NIP influenza vaccines can be placed now on the online vaccine ordering system. The timing of this may be different to the availability of privately purchased influenza vaccines. There are sufficient quantities of NIP influenza vaccine available for all persons who are eligible. 

  • The pre-allocation process for first orders has now closed. Providers who did not approve their pre-allocated order, can place an online order through the usual process. Only online orders are accepted.
  • The first order may be delivered over a couple of deliveries. Each delivery received must be confirmed as received on the online vaccine ordering system.
  • Once a complete order of influenza vaccines has been received and the provider has confirmed receipt, a subsequent order can be placed (if required).
  • Restrictions may be placed on the number of influenza vaccine doses that can be ordered and these may change over time based on vaccine supply and demand.
  • Only order enough vaccines required for use in a maximum 4-week period. This helps to ensure that enough quantities of vaccine are available to all providers.
  • Vaccination clinics should only be scheduled once vaccines have been received.
  • Keep vaccines in their original packaging to protect them from light and temperature changes.
  • Please ensure that free influenza vaccines are only given to eligible people (see 'Eligibility for free influenza vaccine').

Vaccine strains

The Australian Influenza Vaccine Committee (AIVC) recommendation for the composition of influenza vaccines for Australia in 2021 introduces two new strains to the NIP vaccines when compared to the composition of the vaccines for Australia in 2020: a new A (H1N1) like virus strain, a new A (H3N2) like virus strain:

  • an A/Victoria/2570/2019 (H1N1) pdm09-like virus
  • an A/Hong Kong/2671/2019 (H3N2)-like virus
  • a B/Washington/02/2019-like (B/Victoria lineage) virus
  • a B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (B/Yamagata lineage) virus

Influenza vaccines

Four NIP vaccines will be available in 2021:

For further information please refer to the influenza vaccine information sheet developed to assist providers with managing the various influenza vaccine presentations and eligibility for each vaccine.

Updated ATAGI Advice on administering seasonal influenza vaccines in 2021 

Updated advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) on the administration of 2021 seasonal influenza vaccines published recently on the Department's website:

Key changes:

  • The preferred minimum interval between influenza vaccine and a dose of COVID-19 vaccine is 7 days (previously 14 days). A shorter interval (including co-administration) is acceptable in the following settings:
    • Increased risk of COVID-19 or another vaccine-preventable disease (e.g. COVID-19 outbreak, influenza outbreak, tetanus-prone wound)
    • Logistical issues, e.g. difficulty scheduling visits to maintain the 7-day interval
  • Influenza vaccine can be given before or after any dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with a minimum interval of 7 days. An influenza vaccine can be given in between their two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • When scheduling influenza and COVID-19 vaccines, providers should prioritise COVID-19 vaccines for patients who are eligible to receive the vaccine now, then they can schedule the influenza vaccination.
  • Further information about the COVID-19 vaccination program

Further important information

Eligibility for free influenza vaccine

Free seasonal influenza vaccine is funded for the following groups at higher risk of complications from influenza:
  • all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over
  • all children aged 6 months to less than 5 years of age (including Aboriginal and medically at risk)
  • all individuals aged 5 years and over with medical risk conditions, 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
  • pregnant women (influenza vaccine can be given at any stage of pregnancy)
  • people aged 65 years and over (vaccine that is specifically designed to produce a higher immune response is available for this group).

Refer to the Australian Immunisation Handbook for detailed advice, including eligibility.

Current as at: Friday 18 June 2021
Contact page owner: Immunisation