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.
The Australian Influenza Vaccine Committee (AIVC) has reviewed and evaluated data relating to the strains of influenza that were circulating in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere in the winter of 2015. Based on this review, the AIVC has recommended that the TGA adopt the September 2015 World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations for the strains to be covered by the 2016 seasonal influenza vaccines. Details of the strains were announced on the TGA website on 15 October 2015.
There are two categories of influenza vaccines available:
- vaccines that help protect against four strains of the virus (known as quadrivalent influenza vaccines)
- vaccines that help protect against three strains of the virus (known as trivalent influenza vaccines).
Trivalent vaccines include two influenza A strains and one B strain. The quadrivalent vaccines contain the same strains as the trivalent vaccines with the addition of a second influenza B strain. For more information see Influenza vaccine: the annual Southern Hemisphere influenza vaccine production and the regulatory approval timeline.
For the 2016 influenza season, the TGA has registered six vaccines which will be available for use in the following age groups:
|GlaxoSmithKline||Fluarix Tetra||3 years and over|
|Sanofi-Pasteur||FluQuadri Junior||6-35 months|
|FluQuadri||3 years and over|
|BGP Products||Influvac*||6 months and over|
|GlaxoSmithKline||Fluarix*||6 months and over|
|Seqirus (formerly bioCSL)||Fluvax**||5 years and over**|
* Guidance for the dose in children aged 6–35 months is available in the Product Information.
** While Seqirus Fluvax is registered for use in patients aged 5 years and over, febrile events have been observed in children aged 5 to under 9 years after immunisation with this product. Therefore, use of this vaccine is not recommended for children aged under 9 years. A decision to vaccinate with the 2016 Seqirus Fluvax vaccine in children aged 5 to under 9 years 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 (link is external) document or Consumer Medicine Information (link is external) document.
For further information about the use of seasonal influenza vaccines in children, please refer to the TGA web statement.
Further information for health professionals is available from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) Influenza Statement (link is external).
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 2016 influenza vaccination program.
The 2016 National Seasonal Influenza Immunisation Program (link is external) will start from April 2016.
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.