April, 2020

Deliveries of government-funded influenza vaccines commenced on 30 March 2020

Advice from the CMO and ATAGI

Early advice on 2020 National Immunisation Program seasonal influenza vaccination from the Australian Government Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) is available, covering what's new in 2020, including two new influenza vaccines, timing of influenza vaccination, influenza vaccination for pregnant women and eligibility for influenza vaccines funded by the National Immunisation Program.  


Vaccine strains

The Australian Influenza Vaccine Committee recommendation for the composition of influenza vaccines for Australia in 2020 introduces three new strains when compared to the composition of the trivalent and quadrivalent vaccines for Australia in 2019: a new A (H1N1) like virus strain, a new A (H3N2) like virus strain and new strain for the B Victoria lineage.


Quadrivalent influenza vaccines:

  • an A/Brisbane/02/2018 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus

  • an A/South Australia/34/2019 (H3N2)-like virus

  • a B/Washington/02/2019-like (B/Victoria lineage) virus

  • a B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (B/Yamagata lineage) virus

Eligibility for free influenza vaccine

Free seasonal influenza vaccine is funded for the following groups at higher risk of complications from influenza:


  • all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over

  • all children aged 6 months to less than 5 years of age (including Aboriginal and medically at risk)

  • all individuals aged 5 years and over with medical risk conditions, namely:

    • cardiac disease, including cyanotic congenital heart disease, coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure

    • chronic respiratory conditions, including suppurative lung disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and severe asthma

    • other chronic illnesses requiring regular medical follow up or hospitalisation in the previous year, including diabetes mellitus, chronic metabolic diseases, chronic renal failure, and haemoglobinopathies

    • chronic neurological conditions that impact on respiratory function, including multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, and seizure disorders

    • impaired immunity, including HIV, malignancy and chronic steroid use

    • children aged 6 months to 10 years on long term aspirin therapy

  • pregnant women (influenza vaccine can be given at any stage of pregnancy)

  • people aged 65 years and over (vaccine that is specifically designed to produce a higher immune response is available for this group).

Influenza vaccines

Five free vaccines will be available in 2020:

An influenza vaccine information sheet will be developed to assist providers with managing the various influenza vaccine presentations and eligibility for each vaccine.


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