Flu Vaccine

Flu vaccines available Australia-wide.

Annual vaccination is the most important measure to prevent influenza and its complications. It is recommended for all people aged 6 months and over (unless contraindicated). Influenza (flu) vaccines are given each year to protect against the most common strains of the virus. If you're eligible, you can get the influenza vaccine for free under the National Immunisation Program (NIP).

Influenza is a very contagious infection of the airways. It affects people of all ages. Although it can be a mild disease, it can also cause very serious illness in otherwise healthy people. It can require hospitalisation and can cause death.

Vaccination is a way to protect you from serious disease caused by influenza. By getting vaccinated against the flu, you can also help protect other people, especially those who are too sick or young to be vaccinated. The more people who are vaccinated in your community, the less likely the disease will spread.

Getting your flu shot at your community pharmacy is easy and convenient, and you can be confident in your local community pharmacists skills and ability, as they must complete appropriate training before they can administer flu shots.

The National Immunisation Program (NIP) provides free seasonal flu vaccines to eligible babies, young children, teenagers and older Australians, along with those who have certain medical conditions. In most States and Territories, NIP-funded flu vaccines are accessible through community pharmacy for some eligible people. The community pharmacy may charge a service fee for administering an NIP-funded influenza vaccine. If you’re not eligible for a flu vaccine under the NIP, you can still get the vaccine from your local community pharmacy.

Check with your community pharmacy about the vaccination services it provides.

Yearly influenza vaccination is recommended for people aged 6 months and over. Anyone who wants to protect themselves against influenza can talk to their local community pharmacist about getting vaccinated.

The eligibility to receive a free influenza vaccine funded through the NIP remains unchanged and is available for the following groups:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over
  • Children aged 6 months to under 5 years
  • Pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy
  • People aged 65 years or over.
  • People aged 6 months or over who have medical conditions that mean they have a higher risk of getting serious disease:
    • Cardiac disease
    • Chronic respiratory conditions
    • Chronic neurological conditions
    • Immunocompromising conditions
    • Diabetes and other metabolic disorders
    • Renal disease
    • Haematological disorders
  • Children aged six months to 10 years on long term aspirin therapy.
  • Children under nine years receiving their influenza vaccination for the first time require two doses of vaccine, spaced by a minimum of one month.

In some states and territories, influenza vaccines may also be provided for free to other people not listed above. Speak to your local community pharmacist or contact your state or territory Department of Health to find out.

2022 flu vaccinations

Influenza vaccines are given as an injection, usually in the upper arm. It is important to get the right vaccine for your age. Your local community pharmacist can tell you which vaccine they will use for you or your child's influenza immunisation.

Influenza vaccines available under the NIP for the 2022 season include:

  • VaxiGrip Tetra
  • Fluarix Tetra
  • Afluria Quad
  • Fluad Quad - recommended for people aged 65 years and over

These quadrivalent vaccines include the following strains:

  • A/Victoria/2570/2019 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
  • A/Darwin/9/2021 (H3N2)-like virus
  • B/Austria/1359417/2021-like (B/Victoria lineage) virus
  • B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (B/Yamagata lineage) virus

Key points for 2022

Influenza vaccination in 2022 is particularly important due to lower exposure to influenza and low levels of influenza vaccine coverage over the COVID-19 pandemic period. It is predicted that there may be a resurgence of influenza now that travel restrictions have eased.

Seasonal influenza vaccines funded through the National Immunisation Program (NIP) for people most at risk, will be available from April 2022 subject to local supply arrangements. Privately funded influenza vaccines for people not eligible to receive an NIP-funded vaccine are expected to be available earlier.

  • Influenza vaccines can be co-administered with a COVID-19 vaccine on the same day.
  • It is recommended that adults aged 65 years and over receive the adjuvanted influenza vaccine (Fluad Quad®) is preferentially recommended over standard influenza vaccine.
  • If a patient had a 2021 influenza vaccine in late 2021 or early 2022, it is still recommended for them to receive an influenza vaccine when they become available.

Flu vaccination timing

Ideally people should receive their annual influenza vaccination before the start of the influenza season, with optimal protection against influenza occurring in the first three to four months following vaccination. The peak period of influenza circulation usually occurs from June to September in most parts of Australia; however, this may differ in 2022 due to COVID-19 and the return of international travel.

Influenza vaccines can continue to be offered as long as influenza virus is circulating and a valid vaccine (before expiration date) is available.

Pregnant women can receive the vaccine at any stage during pregnancy.

Flu vaccines and COVID-19 vaccines

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) advises that COVID-19 vaccines can be co-administered with an influenza vaccine if required. Trials have demonstrated that co-administration of COVID-19 and influenza vaccine raises no safety concerns and preserves the immune response to both vaccines. Co-administration can result in a higher frequency of mild to moderate adverse events and can make it harder to attribute potential adverse events to specific vaccines. It is important to advise your patient that it is more likely that they may experience common adverse effects and to report any adverse events.

Influenza vaccines can be given on the same day with a COVID-19 vaccine.

Allergy advice

As the egg based influenza vaccines under the NIP only contain minute traces of egg protein, people with egg allergy, including a history of anaphylaxis, can be safely vaccinated with influenza vaccines. If you have an egg allergy, please discuss this with your immunisation provider.

People should not receive the influenza vaccine if they have experienced anaphylaxis after a previous dose of any influenza vaccine or anaphylaxis after any component of an influenza vaccine.


Resources

Vaccination legislation and regulations - The vaccination legislation and regulation for vaccination in community pharmacy differs for each state and territory including the types of vaccines that can be administered, who is authorised to administer vaccines and the minimum age for patients receiving a vaccine.
(Read More)

Australian Immunisation Register - The Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) is a national register that records vaccinations given to people of all ages in Australia.
(AIR FAQs)

2022 Influenza Vaccines - All influenza vaccines available for seasonal use in Australia are listed in the Australian Immunisation Handbook under Vaccines, dosage and administration.

Product and Consumer Medicine Information - The Therapeutic Goods Administration website provides product information and consumer medicine information for each vaccine available.

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