Influenza vaccines can change from year to year as new strains of influenza virus appear. This is one reason vaccination against influenza is given every year.
Following a review of the strains of influenza that were circulating in the Southern Hemisphere, the Australian Influenza Vaccine Committee (AIVC) recommended that the TGA should adopt the September World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations for the strains to be Covered by the 2015 seasonal influenza vaccines. Details of the strains were announced on the TGA website on 14 October 2014.
2015 is the first year that two categories of influenza vaccines will be available. These are:
- vaccines that protect against three strains of the virus (known as trivalent influenza vaccines)
- vaccines that protect against four strains of the virus (known as quadrivalent influenza vaccines).
Trivalent vaccines include two influenza A strains and one B strain. For 2015, one of the A strains is the H1N1 strain that has been in the seasonal vaccine since 2010. The other two strains have changed compared with the 2014 vaccines used in Australia and the 2014/15 vaccines used in the recent Northern Hemisphere winter. The quadrivalent vaccines contain the same strains as the trivalent vaccines with the addition of a second influenza B strain.
For the 2015 influenza season, the TGA has registered nine vaccines which will be available for use in the following age groups:
|BGP Products#||Influvac*||6 months and over|
|GlaxoSmithKline||Fluarix*||6 months and over|
|Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics||Agrippal*||6 months and over|
|Sanofi-Pasteur||Vaxigrip Junior||6 to 35 months|
|Vaxigrip*||6 months and over|
|bioCSL||Fluvax**||5 years and over**|
|GlaxoSmithKline||Fluarix Tetra||3 years and over|
|Sanofi-Pasteur||FluQuadri Junior||6-35 months|
|FluQuadri||3 years and over|
# Previously the pharmaceutical division of Abbott Australasia.
* Guidance for the dose in children aged 6-35 months is available in the Product Information.
** Febrile events have been observed in children aged 5 to under 9 years after immunisation with bioCSL Fluvax. Therefore, in this age group, a decision to vaccinate with the 2015 bioCSL Fluvax vaccine should be based on careful consideration of potential benefits and risks in the individual.
For further information on individual vaccines, please refer to the relevant Product Information document or Consumer Medicine Information document.
For further information about the use of seasonal influenza vaccines in children, please refer to the TGA web statement, 2015 seasonal influenza vaccines for use in children and the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) Influenza Statement.
In conjunction with the Office of Health Protection and state and territory health authorities, the TGA will be closely monitoring adverse event reports during the 2015 influenza vaccination program.
The 2015 National Seasonal Influenza Immunisation Program will start on 20 April 2015, instead of the usual start date of 15 March. The 2015 Program start date has been put back due to a double strain change from the 2014 influenza vaccine which has led to manufacturing delays.
Reporting of adverse events following influenza vaccine
Health professionals and consumers are encouraged to report all adverse events associated with influenza vaccination in patients of any age to the TGA or through the current arrangements in their State or Territory.
All reports contribute to the TGA’s ongoing monitoring of the safety of influenza vaccines.
The TGA cannot give advice about an individual’s medical condition. You are strongly encouraged to talk with a health professional if you are concerned about a possible adverse event associated with a vaccine or medicine.