2020 seasonal influenza vaccines
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 data related to epidemiology, antigenic and genetic characteristics of recent influenza isolates circulating in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere, serological responses to previous year's vaccines, and the availability of candidate vaccines viruses and reagents. Based on this review and the World Health Organization's recommendation, the AIVC recommended the viral strains to be used for influenza vaccines in the 2020 southern hemisphere influenza season.
The TGA has accepted the recommendations of AIVC. This year there is a new A (H1N1) like virus strain, a new A (H3N2) like virus strain and a new strain for the B Victoria lineage when compared to the composition of the trivalent and quadrivalent vaccines for Australia in 2019.
The egg-based quadrivalent influenza vaccines contain the following four viral strains:
- 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; and
- a B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (B/Yamagata lineage) virus.
The egg-based trivalent influenza vaccines contain the following three viral strains:
- an A/Brisbane/02/2018 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
- an A/South Australia/34/2019 (H3N2)-like virus; and
- a B/Washington/02/2019-like (B/Victoria lineage) virus.
For the 2020 influenza season, the following six influenza vaccines, registered by the TGA, will be available for use in Australia for the age groups listed against each product.
All 2020 southern hemisphere seasonal influenza vaccines available for use in Australia are quadrivalent influenza vaccines (QIVs).
|Sanofi-Aventis||FluQuadri||6 months and over*|
|Vaxigrip Tetra||6 months and over*|
|GlaxoSmithKline||Fluarix Tetra||6 months and over*|
|Mylan Health||Influvac Tetra||3 years and over|
|Seqirus||Afluria Quad||5 years and over|
|Seqirus||Fluad Quad||65 years and over|
* Guidance for the dose in children aged 6–35 months is available in the Product Information.
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 2020 influenza vaccination program.
Vaccines for use in children
For children, three vaccines are available from 6 months and over: FluQuadri, Vaxigrip Tetra and Fluarix Tetra. Influvac Tetra is available for use in children 3 years and over, and Afluria Quad for children 5 years and over.
All children aged 6 months to less than 5 years are now eligible to receive free annual influenza vaccines under the National Immunisation Program (NIP).
The dose of influenza vaccines for all ages is 0.5 mL.
Vaccines for use in under 65s
Four vaccine brands are being supplied under the NIP in 2020 for people aged under 65 years who are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, pregnant women, and people who have certain medical conditions: FluQuadri, Vaxigrip Tetra, Fluarix Tetra and Afluria Quad. These vaccines are registered for all people under the age of 65 years.
Influvac Tetra is also registered for use in people under the age of 65 years, however it will be available for purchase on the private market only.
Vaccines for use in over 65s
Five vaccines are being supplied under the NIP for those 65 years and over in 2020: FluQuadri, Vaxigrip Tetra, Fluarix Tetra, Afluria Quad and Fluad Quad.
Influvac Tetra is also registered for use in people over the age of 65 years, but will only be available for purchase on the private market.
For those 65 years and over the adjuvanted QIV, Fluad Quad, is preferentially recommended over standard QIVs.
All people aged 65 years and over are eligible for free influenza vaccines under the NIP.
What is in the influenza vaccine
Information on specific ingredients included within individual Influenza vaccines can be found on the label of the medicine, the Product Information (PI) and Consumer Medicines Information (CMI) leaflets for each individual vaccine. You can ask your pharmacist for a copy or find it through our CMI database by searching the products name. The CMI provides the full list of ingredients for each product.
Additionally, information on medicines supplied in Australia, including ingredients, can be located by searching the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) either by product name or ARTG number.
Influenza vaccines available for the 2020 influenza season within Australia do not contain any thiomersal/mercury.
Formaldehyde is used in the early stages of manufacture of some influenza vaccines as an inactivation agent. The formaldehyde is removed in the latter stages of manufacture and the product is tested to ensure formaldehyde levels are below detectable limits before the final product can be released.
All influenza vaccines available this year are Latex free. However, the possibility that the product may have come into contact with instruments which contain latex cannot be excluded. Patients who are extremely sensitive to latex should consult their doctor for advice.
Fluad Quad is the only product that contains an adjuvant to boost effectiveness of the vaccine in people aged over 65 years.
Information for health professionals is available from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) Influenza Statement (pdf,424kb).
Information for consumers is available from NPS MedicineWise.
Additional resources are available on the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance website.
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.