Influenza Vaccination Statement
Statement date: 8 March 2019
In 2018, in response to concerns that older people may respond less strongly to standard influenza vaccines, the Australian Government provided two different enhanced trivalent vaccines, free for people aged 65+. It has been announced that for the 2019 National Immunisation Program one of these two vaccines will again be available free for those aged 65+. This year, the second vaccine available for people 65+ can only be obtained by private purchase.
The immunisation Coalition notes that, at this point in time there are no published studies that directly compare these two vaccines for effectiveness, and both are considered safe and effective for people aged 65+.
Vaccination is still the best way to protect the public against influenza.
Everyone over 6 months of age should receive an annual influenza vaccination to protect themselves, and to increase herd immunity within the community.
Influenza vaccine is funded as part of the National Immunisation Program for at risk groups, including people 65 and over, pregnant women, people with chronic medical conditions, and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.
Free influenza vaccine under the NIP usually becomes available in mid-April each year and the Immunisation Coalition recommends that at-risk people book an appointment to have their vaccination when it’s available. Others who wish to protect themselves against influenza are recommended to consult their GP or pharmacist.