The Federal Government has secured a supply of new vaccines to protect against four strains of influenza virus for this season
This year’s quadrivalent influenza vaccines will cover two A strains of influenza: Michigan and Hong Kong, and two B strains of influenza: Brisbane and Phuket, as recommended by the World Health Organization.
The new vaccines will be made available free of charge from mid-April to at-risk groups through the National Immunisation Program (NIP) and will also be available on the private market.
The vaccines will be supplied by GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi and Seqirus.
Around 4.5 million doses of seasonal influenza vaccines will be made available in 2017 through the NIP.
This year there will be four age-specific vaccines available under the NIP:
- GSK will supply Fluarix Tetra for eligible people aged three years and older.
- Sanofi will supply FluQuadri for eligible people aged three years and older, and FluQuadri Junior for eligible children aged six months to less than three years.
- Seqirus will supply Afluria Quad for eligible people aged 18 years and older.
“All Australians should consider getting a flu vaccine as the more people who get vaccinated against the flu, the less it spreads through the community, which means we are all better protected,” says the Department of Health.
It suggests that people get vaccinated from April to allow protection from the flu to develop well ahead of the peak transmission period, which usually falls around August.
“People at high risk of complications from the flu and associated illnesses should ask their doctor or vaccination provider for advice about their specific circumstances and their eligibility for a free vaccination,” says the department.