Annual vaccination is the most important measure to prevent influenza and its complications.
Annual influenza vaccination is recommended for all persons aged 6 months and over (unless contraindicated) to reduce their chance of becoming ill with influenza.
Updates for 2019
All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and older are eligible to receive a seasonal influenza vaccine at no cost through the National Immunisation Program (NIP), as the gap in eligibility for those aged 5 to 14 years is now closed.
Eligibility for influenza vaccines funded by the National Immunisation Program
In 2019, influenza vaccines funded under the NIP are available to the following groups due to their increased risk of complications from influenza:
- all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over
- pregnant women (during any stage of pregnancy)
- all people aged 65 years and over
- people aged six months and over with medical conditions which increase the risk of influenza disease complications.
Influenza virus strains included in the 2019 seasonal influenza vaccines:
- A (H1N1): an A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09 like virus
- A (H3N2): an A/Switzerland/8060/2017 (H3N2) like virus
- B: a B/Colorado/06/2017 like virus (not included in the TIVs)
- B: a B/Phuket/3073/2013 like virus.
Availability of 2019 seasonal influenza vaccines
In 2019, the vaccines available include:
- four age specific quadrivalent influenza vaccines for people aged under 65 years
- a higher-immunogenicity trivalent vaccine for those aged 65 years and over.
Age restrictions apply to all vaccine brands.
Timing of vaccination
Optimal protection against influenza occurs within the first three to four months following vaccination. Timing of vaccination should aim to achieve the highest level of protection during peak influenza season. This usually occurs from June to September in most parts of Australia. Vaccinating from April provides protection before the peak season.
For more detailed information see the Statement from the Chief Medical Officer on 2019 seasonal influenza vaccines.
Further information and resources about 2019 seasonal influenza vaccines will be available on the Department of Health’s immunisation website shortly.