7 Things to know about this year's flu vaccination

22 February 2016

22 February 2016

Rada Rouse

7 things to know about this year's flu vaccination

  1. Flu immunisation is needed every year to maximise protection. The vaccine is changed annually to take account of the strains likely to be circulating in the community.
  2. This year a vaccine protecting against four strains of the virus (quadrivalent influenza vaccine or QIV) and a cheaper one protecting against three strains (trivalent influenza vaccine or TIV) will be available.
  3. People getting free flu vaccine under the National Immunisation Program will be given QIV. Those eligible are:
    • Pregnant women
    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders aged 6 months to less than 5 years
    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders aged more than 15 years
    • Everyone who is 65 or older
    • Everyone older than 6 months who has a medical condition putting them at risk of complications from flu.
  4. The free flu immunisation program usually starts on 1 March but will be later this year as the QIV is being imported. Stocks are expected by April.
  5. Two brands of QIV will be used for the free program: Fluarix Tetra (made by GSK) for everyone over 3 years and FluQuadri Junior (Sanofi Pasteur) for children over 6 months to 3 years.
  6. The QIV covers influenza A strains H1N1 (swine flu) and H3N2, plus Influenza B strains B/Brisbane and B/Phuket. The TIV does not have B/Phuket.
  7. This year accredited pharmacies can offer TIV or QIV in store, without a prescription, for healthy adults (over 16 or over 18 depending on the state or territory). However, free vaccine is available to eligible people only from a GP, community health centre or council clinic.
Last Reviewed: 23 February 2016

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References

1. WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza. Current Vaccine Recommendations. http://www.influenzacentre.org/surveillance_vaccines.htm
2. New Flu Protections following High Season. http://www.health.gov.au/internet/ministers/publishing.nsf/Content/health-mediarel-yr2015-ley133.htm
3. Pharmacy Guild of Australia. Vaccination Services. https://www.guild.org.au/services-programs/vaccination-services
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