The 2020 Influenza vaccine should become available in March or April.
Why and When should you get Influenza Vaccine?
- Annual vaccination is required for two important reasons:
- Protection lessens over time
- The circulating influenza strains change each year and may not have been in the previous year’s vaccine
- The best time to have the vaccine is prior to influenza entering the community, before the start of the winter season. This is generally April-May each year. Giving the vaccine no earlier than April is expected to provide better protection during the peak of influenza activity which is expected around August. The vaccine can still be given later than May, even when influenza is already around in the community, as protective antibody levels can develop rapidly, from as little as four days after immunisation.
Who is Eligible for free Influenza Vaccine
The following groups of patients are eligible for free Influenza vaccine each year between 1st Apr and 31st December.
- Anyone aged 65 years and over
- Pregnant women (any trimester)
- Anyone under 65 years with any of the medical conditions listed here:
- Heart (ischaemic heart disease, congestive heart failure, rheumatic heart disease, congenital heart disease)
- Cerebrovascular disease
- Lung (asthma, if on regular preventer, chronically impaired lung function)
- Chronic kidney disease
- Cancer (excluding basal and squamous cell skin cancers if not invasive)
- Children aged four years and under who have been hospitalised for respiratory illness or have a history of significant respiratory illness
- Other qualifying conditions (autoimmune disease, immune suppression/deficiency, HIV, transplant recipients, neuromuscular and CNS diseases/disorders, haemoglobinopathies, children on long term aspirin, cochlear implant, errors of metabolism at risk of major metabolic decompensation, pre and post splenectomy, Down’s syndrome.)
Who can have Influenza Vaccine?
- Anyone from age 6 months of age can be given an Influenza vaccine.
- For those patients NOT eligible for a free vaccine (see above), the cost is $35.
- Children aged over 6 months and under 5 years will get: Fluarix Tetra (GSK)
- Adults, and children aged 5 years and over will get: Afluria Quad (Sequirus)
The New Zealand 2020 vaccine contained the following 4 virus strains (the 3 strains which are different to the 2019 vaccine are in bold green):
- A/Brisbane/02/2018 pdm09-like virus (H1N1)
- A/South Australia/34/2019-like virus (H3N2)
- B/Washington/02/2019-like virus (B/Victoria lineage)
- B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus (B/Yamagata lineage)