Annual seasonal influenza vaccination is recommended for any person aged 6 months and over who wishes to reduce the likelihood of becoming ill with influenza.
The influenza vaccine for the Australian 2014 influenza season contains the following three virus strains:
- an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09 – like strain
- an A/Texas/50/2012 (H3N2) – like strain
- a B/Massachusetts/2/2012 – like strain
Free influenza vaccine
Under the National Influenza Vaccination Program, free seasonal influenza vaccine is available for the following people:
- all people aged 65 years and over
- all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over
- pregnant women
- people aged 6 months and over with medical conditions predisposing to severe influenza, 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.
Latex in vaccines
In 2014, three seasonal influenza vaccines are provided free for eligible people under the National Immunisation Program:
- Fluvax® is latex-free
- Vaxigrip® is latex-free
- Fluarix® is not latex-free
Recommendations for children
Fluvax® is NOT APPROVED for use in children less than 5 years of age. Two doses of influenza vaccine at least one month apart are recommended for children aged less than 10 years who are receiving influenza vaccine for the first time. The same vial must not be used for the two doses.
Each vaccine delivery will include alternative vaccine (either Vaxigrip® or Fluarix®) that can be administered to children aged 6 months to less than 10 years.