INFLUENZA vaccines can change from year to year as new strains of the virus appear. This is one reason vaccination against influenza is given on a yearly basis.
Annual vaccination is the most important measure to prevent influenza and its complications, and it is recommended for all people aged 6 months and over.
The highest level of protection occurs in the first 3 to 4 months following vaccination. Annual vaccination should ideally occur before the onset of each influenza season. This is usually from June to September in most parts of Australia but may be atypical this year. Vaccinating from April provides protection before the peak season.
Vaccination against influenza this year is even more crucial. Over the COVID-19 period, there has been lower exposure to influenza virus and lower levels of influenza vaccine coverage compared to previous years. With borders reopening, a possible resurgence could occur in 2022.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has released advice to support vaccination providers ahead of the 2022 season and has advised that influenza vaccines can be co-administered (on the same day) with a COVID-19 vaccine.
Subject to the availability of influenza vaccines, co-administration with COVID-19 booster vaccines could be a prompt for flu vaccination.