Protecting Australians from influenza in 2017

5 March 2017

Minister for Health, The Hon. Greg Hunt has today announced the Australian Government has secured a supply of new vaccines which protect against four strains of influenza virus for the 2017 season. 

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 2017 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.

Key Points (extract from ATAGI advice):

  • Annual vaccination is the most important measure to prevent influenza and its complications.
  • Annual influenza vaccination is recommended for any person ≥6 months of age who wishes to reduce the likelihood of becoming ill with influenza.
  • Recent evidence suggests protection against influenza may start to decrease from 3 to 4 months following vaccination and early vaccination needs to be balanced with this. While influenza continues to circulate, it is never too late to vaccinate.
  • Only quadrivalent influenza vaccines (QIV) formulations are available in Australia in 2017. Age restrictions apply according to vaccine brand (refer to Table 1).
  • QIVs are funded on the National Immunisation Program (NIP) in 2017 for the following groups:
    • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children aged 6 months to <5 years
    • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander persons aged ≥15 years
    • All persons aged ≥65 years
    • All persons aged ≥6 months who have certain medical conditions which increase the isk of influenza disease complications; for example, severe asthma, lung or heart disease, low immunity or diabetes (refer to Table 3).
    • Pregnant women (during any stage of pregnancy).
  • Influenza vaccination is also strongly recommended, but not funded, for other groups who are at increased risk of influenza and its complications (refer to Table 3 footnote).
  • Persons with egg allergy, including anaphylaxis, can be safely vaccinated with influenza vaccines. Persons with a history of anaphylaxis to egg can be vaccinated with a full vaccine dose in medical facilities with staff experienced in recognising and treating anaphylaxis.
  • Providers are reminded to report all vaccines given to the Australian Immunisation Register.

Further information: