Influenza immunisation


From 1 to 30 June, the WA Department of Health is providing free influenza vaccinations for all Western Australians not otherwise eligible for government-funded vaccines.

Read more about the Free Influenza Vaccination Program June 2022.

Vaccination against influenza is important in 2022 with the Australian community potentially more vulnerable to the virus. With the easing of international and domestic public health measures arising from the global pandemic, a resurgence of influenza is expected this year.

All persons aged 6 months and above are encouraged to get vaccinated for influenza each year. The National Immunisation Program and WA Department of Health funds influenza vaccines for people most at risk.

Key information regarding 2022 WA influenza immunisation program

Resources to support immunisation providers

The Influenza Update (online immunisation education module) provides current information on all aspects of immunisation and enhances immunisation knowledge to deliver vaccines safely. WA immunisation providers are encouraged to complete the module annually.

Mandatory reporting to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR)

It is mandatory for immunisation providers to report influenza vaccinations to the Australian Immunisation Register (external site). This requirement came into effect 1 March 2021 in accordance with the Australian Immunisation Register Amendment (Reporting) Rules 2021 (external site). See how to set up your access to the AIR (external site).

Reporting adverse events following immunisation

Health providers can report possible adverse events following immunisation using the online portal at SafeVac Reporting WAVSS System (external site)

Read about the WA Vaccine Safety Surveillance System (external site) and how to report a reaction.

Groups eligible for a free influenza vaccine

From 1 to 30 June, the WA Department of Health is providing free influenza vaccinations for all Western Australians not otherwise eligible for government-funded vaccines.

The following individuals in WA are eligible to receive free government-funded influenza vaccines:

  • children aged 6 months to less than 5 years
  • primary school-aged children (pre-primary to year 6)
  • Aboriginal people 6 months or older
  • pregnant women (any trimester)
  • persons 65 years or older
  • persons aged 6 months and older with medical conditions that place them at risk for complications of influenza, including:
    • cardiac disease
    • chronic respiratory conditions
    • chronic neurological conditions
    • impaired immunity
    • diabetes and other metabolic disorders
    • renal disease
    • haematological disorders
    • children aged 6 months to 10 years receiving long-term aspirin therapy.
  • Vulnerable cohorts aged 5 years and older, including:
    • persons experiencing homelessness
    • residents in congregate living settings, such as residential aged care, disability care, mental health hostels and youth group houses.

For further information, please see the WA Immunisation Schedule.

Free influenza vaccine in June program information

Western Australians will have the opportunity to receive a free flu vaccination during the month of June (external site). This initiative has been developed to provide greater access to influenza vaccines for the WA community, to protect themselves against influenza.

This program will be delivered through community pharmacies and state-led vaccination clinics; other providers may also join the program to provide influenza vaccinations at no cost to patients.

Providers can either use their privately purchased influenza vaccines or order government funded vaccines using the WA Health vaccine Onelink (external site) online ordering system. You can order influenza vaccines at the same time as your standard vaccines.

For enquiries, please email Immunisation@health.wa.gov.au.

More information

Timing of influenza vaccination

Optimal protection against influenza occurs within 3 to 4 months following vaccination. Providers should consider vaccinating in the months prior to the typical influenza season occurs, which typically spans July to October in WA. While the influenza virus remains in circulation, it is never too late to get the influenza vaccine.

Refer to the Influenza chapter on the Australian Immunisation Handbook (external site) for detailed advice, including eligibility, vaccine dosage, and contraindications.

Healthcare worker influenza immunisation

Important message for WA Health staff: Please read the facts about influenza vaccination pre and post vaccination at Facts about the influenza vaccine (PDF 159KB).

Wherever your workplace, whatever your role, reduce your risk of catching influenza and passing it to patients or colleagues, and get vaccinated.

It is highly recommended for healthcare workers to receive the influenza vaccine due to them being in contact with vulnerable groups as part of their role.

  • Influenza (flu) can be a serious disease that can lead to hospitalisation and sometimes even death.
  • Anyone can get sick from influenza, including people who are otherwise healthy.
  • If you get influenza, you can spread it to others even if you don't feel sick.
Influenza immunisation for pregnant women

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) (external site) strongly endorses routine vaccination of all pregnant women against influenza.1

In recognition of the benefits of protecting pregnant women and their newborns against influenza, the WA Department of Health recommends that all pregnant women be offered influenza vaccination as part of routine, comprehensive, antenatal care.

Vaccination against influenza in late autumn, regardless of gestational age, is optimal, but unimmunised pregnant women should be vaccinated at any time during the influenza season.

More information

Paediatric influenza immunisation

Why should you recommend influenza vaccination for young children?

In Australia, more children aged under 5 are hospitalised with influenza than any other vaccine preventable disease 1

The National Health and Medical Research Council (external site), , recommends annual vaccination for individuals 6 months or older who wish to reduce their chances of becoming ill with influenza.

Children with underlying medical conditions are at higher risk of severe illness and are eligible for a free influenza vaccine through the National Immunisation Program (external site).

Experience from Australia and overseas indicates that the majority of influenza-related paediatric hospitalisations and deaths occur among children without underlying medical conditions.

Influenza vaccine safety

AusVaxSafety (external site) is a network of GPs and clinics across Australia which allows parents/carers of children recently given a flu vaccine to report back on how their children felt after vaccination, to ensure vaccines registered for use in children are safe.

Real time vaccine safety data

Real time vaccine safety data can be accessed via the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (external site).

This rapid safety surveillance can provide reassurance to parents that the influenza vaccines used in children are safe. To learn more about the latest vaccine safety data visit National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (external site).

More information

References

Brotherton J, Wang H, Schaffer A, et al. Vaccine preventable diseases and vaccination coverage in Australia, 2003 to 2005. Communicable Diseases Intelligence 2007; 31(Suppl).

Adult influenza immunisation program

Influenza immunisation is recommended seasonally, even if a person has been vaccinated in any previous year with an influenza vaccine that contains the same strains. This is because the immunity to influenza acquired by immunisation wanes over time.

During the influenza season, the opportunities to provide influenza vaccination to persons at increased risk of influenza should not be missed during visits for routine medical care.

People with certain immunocompromising conditions (i.e. haematopoietic stem cell transplant or solid organ transplant) who are receiving the influenza vaccine for the first time are recommended to receive 2 vaccine doses at least 4 weeks apart (irrespective of age) and one dose annually thereafter.

Vaccines for use in over 65s

All people aged 65 years and over in WA are eligible for free influenza vaccines under the National Immunisation Program (NIP).

The QIV Fluad® Quad contains an adjuvant and is preferentially recommended for people ≥65 years of age over other available QIVs.

However, if Fluad® Quad is unavailable, vaccination with another QIV is preferable to providing no vaccination. In this case, Fluad® Quad does not subsequently need to be provided.

For further information on recommended seasonal influenza vaccines by age group, see the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) influenza vaccines (external site).

More information

Resources

Research shows that patients who are recommended the influenza vaccine by their health provider are three times more likely to get vaccinated. Don’t put your patients at risk, recommend influenza vaccination.

Influenza immunisation campaigns

Learn more about the below influenza immunisation campaigns and download assets. Please use these resources to encourage Western Australians to get vaccinated against influenza.

Department of Health Online Publications Ordering System

Health providers can also browse and order selected publications from the Department of Health Quickmail Publication Ordering System (external site). This is a free bulk ordering service.

When you log in to Quickmail, you can filter by the 'Immunisation Program' category to view, download and order various publications such as posters and brochures.

Last reviewed: 20-06-2022
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