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.

Further important information

Influenza and COVID-19 vaccination

  • The ATAGI advice on the relative timing of administering influenza and COVID-19 vaccines in 2021 is now available.
  • When scheduling influenza and COVID-19 vaccines, consider the following principles: – People in phase 1a for COVID-19 vaccination should receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is available to them, and then receive their influenza vaccine (separated by at least 14 days). – People in later phases for COVID-19 vaccination should receive their influenza vaccine as soon as it is available, and then receive their COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them.
  • Further information about the COVID-19 vaccination program is now available.

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: Wednesday 31 March 2021
Contact page owner: Immunisation