Seasonal flu vaccine: 2013 seasonal influenza vaccines for use in children

28 February 2013

From the age of 6 months

For the 2013 influenza season, there are four different influenza vaccines registered for use in children from the age of 6 months:

  • Agrippal (Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics)
  • Fluarix (GlaxoSmithKline)
  • Influvac (Abbott)*
  • Vaxigrip (Sanofi-Pasteur)*

* These vaccines also have a paediatric ('junior') presentation registered for use in children aged 6 to 35 months.

From the age of 5 years

In addition to the vaccines mentioned above, another influenza vaccine is approved for use in children from the age of 5 years:

  • Fluvax (CSL)

Fluvax is not approved by the TGA for use in children under the age of 5 years because of an increased risk of fever and febrile convulsions.

Febrile events have been observed in children aged 5 to under 9 years after immunisation with Fluvax. Therefore, in this age group, a decision to vaccinate with the 2013 Fluvax vaccine should be based on careful consideration of potential benefits and risks in the individual child.

Vaccine strains for 2013

Following a review of the strains of influenza that were circulating in the Southern Hemisphere, the Australian Influenza Vaccine Committee recommended changes to two of the strains in the 2013 vaccine compared with the 2012 vaccine. Details of the strains were announced on the TGA website on 9 October 2012.

The influenza strains in the 2013 vaccines are the same as the strains in the influenza vaccines used in the recent Northern Hemisphere winter. The TGA is reviewing surveillance data from the Northern Hemisphere to ensure there have been no unexpected adverse events related to the strains in the 2013 vaccines and, in conjunction with the States and Territories, will be closely monitoring adverse event reports once the influenza vaccination program commences.

Background

During the 2010 influenza season, an excess number of febrile reactions and febrile convulsions occurred in children under 5 years of age after immunisation with Fluvax.

The investigation into the cause of the increase in febrile convulsions with Fluvax is continuing. There have been no excess rates of febrile reactions for the four vaccines that have been approved for use from 6 months of age for the upcoming influenza season.

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 medicine, vaccine or medical device.

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