Influenza vaccination is particularly important this year. With the easing of international and domestic public health measures arising from the COVID-19 global pandemic, a resurgence of influenza is expected in 2022, with the Australian community potentially more vulnerable to the virus this Winter.
Annual influenza vaccination is recommended for all people aged 6 months and over (unless contraindicated). The National Immunisation Program (NIP) funds influenza vaccines for people most at risk.
2022 influenza vaccines for the NIP will become available from 4 April, subject to local supply arrangements in states and territories. The public are encouraged to start to book their appointments from mid-April to ensure the best protection at the peak of the season which is usually between June and September.
Advice for vaccination providers
- Ordering 2022 influenza vaccines – if you have not done so already, place orders for 2022 NIP influenza vaccines through the usual channels in your state or territory. Contact your state or territory immunisation program if you have any questions about ordering vaccine.
- Ensure vaccine safety – always check the patient’s age before vaccination and ensure that you use the correct vaccine for their age.
- Support influenza and COVID-19 vaccination – influenza vaccine can be safely co‑administered (given on the same day) with COVID-19 vaccines. Consider opportunities to increase uptake of influenza vaccines by co‑administering with COVID-19 vaccines where appropriate. The best protection this winter will be to receive an influenza vaccine and be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, including any recommended booster doses.
- Promote the free vaccine to eligible people – vaccination coverage dropped in 2021, particularly in children under 5 years of age. It is important to encourage uptake among your eligible patients.
- Report to the Australian Immunisation Register – it is mandatory for vaccination providers to report all influenza vaccinations administered. This will support accurate coverage reporting and management of the influenza program.
- Recall patients who may have missed routine vaccinations – patients may have missed routine vaccinations over the COVID-19 period, and you are encouraged to catch them up as soon as possible. This includes missed childhood, adolescent or adult vaccinations funded under the NIP.
Resources to support vaccination
Clinical information to support administration practice include:
- 2022 NIP influenza clinical advice for vaccination providers
- 2022 NIP influenza vaccines quick reference table
- ATAGI Statement on the administration of seasonal influenza vaccines in 2022
- The Australian Immunisation Handbook
Promotional materials including posters and brochures are being distributed to GPs, select medical specialists who see patients who would benefit from vaccination, General Practices and Aboriginal Medical Services nationwide, with extra resources available to be ordered. View the 2022 influenza resource collection.
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