Early advice on the 2016 National Immunisation Program influenza vaccine

3 Mar 2016

The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) recently wrote to immunisation providers advising that influenza vaccines will be available from early April 2016, subject to vaccination supply. Two age-specific quadrivalent influenza vaccines (QIVs) will be available free of charge to eligible people under the National Immunisation Program (NIP).

Under the NIP, the following groups are eligible to receive the free influenza vaccine:

  • Pregnant women.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged six months to less than five years.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over.
  • People aged 65 years and over.
  • People aged six months and over with medical conditions predisposing them to severe influenza.

The two QIVs provided under the NIP are Sanofi’s FluQuadri® Junior for children under three years of age and GSK’s Fluarix ® Tetra for people aged three years and older. The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommends the use of QIVs in preference to Trivalent influenza vaccines (TIVs). However, TIVs are an acceptable alternative particularly if QIVs are not available. Although TIVs will not be provided under the NIP in 2016, both TIVs and QIVs will be available to purchase on the private market.

The CMO will write again in mid-March with further details about the Program, along with promotional posters to be displayed in practices. The Department will also produce consumer fact sheets, including one specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, which will be available to download from the Immunise Australia website.

Note that in 2016, for the first time, ATAGI will also produce comprehensive advice for immunisation providers and consumers, which will be available shortly on the Immunise Australia Website.