The National Seasonal Influenza Immunisation Program for 2018 will commence on 01 May 2018. This is later than usual because the World Health Organization and the Australian Influenza Vaccine Committee have agreed that the 2018 southern hemisphere seasonal influenza vaccine will contain three seasonal influenza strains, with two strain changes from the 2014 vaccine. The trivalent influenza vaccine components for the Australian 2017 influenza season will contain the following:
- A (H1N1): an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1) – like virus, 15 µg HA per dose
- A (H3N2): an A/Switzerland/9715293/2013 (H3N2) – like virus, 15 µg HA per dose
- B: a B/Phuket/3073/2013 – like virus, 15 µg HA per dose
This double-strain change, which is an unusual occurrence, has caused manufacturing delays due to the time it takes to develop, test and distribute the reagents needed to make the vaccine.
Annual influenza vaccination is provided free through the National Immunisation Program (NIP) to groups who are at an increased risk of influenza complications, including:
- People aged 65 years and over.
- Pregnant women.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged six months to less than five years.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over.
- Anyone aged six months and over who has a chronic condition placing them at increased risk of complications from influenza
*Influenza vaccination in Children, please see your children’s regular doctor regarding this.