2021 Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Availability and Co-administration with COVID-19 Vaccine Advice

2021 Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Availability and Co-administration with COVID-19 Vaccine Advice

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Influenza vaccines – key updates

  • Annual influenza vaccination is recommended for all people >6 months of age. It is the most important measure to prevent influenza and its complications.
  • Annual influenza vaccination is funded under the National Immunisation Program (NIP) for all children aged six months to under five years of age, all adults aged 65 years and over, all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged six months and over, pregnant women and anyone aged six months and over with a specified medical condition. Please refer to the online Australian Immunisation Handbook.
  • Co-administration of influenza vaccine on the same day as a COVID-19 vaccine is not recommended.
  • Administration of influenza vaccine and a COVID-19 vaccine should be a minimum of 14 days apart as per the ATAGI clinical guidance.
  • There are four age-specific quadrivalent (QIV) NIP influenza vaccines available for eligible people.
  • For individuals aged > 65 years, the adjuvanted influenza vaccine, Fluad® Quad, is preferentially recommended over standard influenza vaccine.

These are:

  • Fluarix® Tetra (GSK) for people aged 6 months to less than 65 years*
  • Vaxigrip Tetra® (Sanofi) for people aged 6 months to less than 65 years
  • Afluria® Quad for people aged 5 to less than 65 years
  • Fluad® Quad for people aged 65 years and over

*Fluarix® Tetra should be prioritised for children aged 6 months to less than 5 years. This will assist us with simplifying vaccine ordering, provider stock-take and ease of cohort identification.

Influenza vaccine ordering

  • Influenza vaccines can be ordered through the online ordering system after Easter, Wednesday 7 April 2021. This timing allows for vaccine to be receipted into the warehouse.
  • Please remember that our vaccine distribution warehouse is located in Victoria and orders may take three to five days to be delivered, however during peak periods this may take longer.
  • You are able to order more frequently during influenza season, however, please keep in mind your fridge capacity to align with storage of COVID-19 vaccine if this is applicable to your practice.

Influenza and COVID-19 vaccination

  • COVID-19 vaccines currently approved for use in Australia include the Pfizer (BNT162b) and AstraZeneca (ChAdOx1-S) vaccines. Both vaccines require two doses. Pfizer vaccine will not be available for use in general practice.
  • The recommended interval between Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses is 21 days.
  • The recommended interval between AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses is 12 weeks apart.
  • In 2021, the COVID-19 vaccine rollout will occur in planned phases as per the National Rollout Strategy and occur concurrently with influenza vaccination activities. This will add complexity to the influenza and COVID-19 vaccine programs.
  • It is not recommended that the influenza and COVID-19 vaccines are received on the same day.  The recommended minimum interval between these vaccines is14 days. This is due to a lack of safety and immunogenicity data on co-administration of the vaccines.
  • When scheduling influenza and COVID-19 vaccines, providers are encouraged to consider when their patient cohorts are likely to receive the COVID-19 vaccination as per the phased National Rollout Strategy.
  • Those in Phase 1a for COVID-19 vaccination should receive their COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is available to them, then their influenza vaccine.
  • Those in later phases for COVID-19 vaccination should receive their influenza vaccine as soon as it is available, followed by the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them.

Mandatory reporting to the Australian Immunisation Register

From 1 March 2021, all vaccine providers will be required to report influenza and COVID-19 vaccinations to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR), with all other NIP vaccinations to be reported from 1 July 2021.

Adverse Event Following Immunisation Reporting

From 1 March 2021, please report all adverse events following immunisation to Public Health Services Tasmania rather than direct to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). The Adverse Event Following Immunisation Reporting Form can be completed and submitted to tas.aefi@health.tas.gov.au or via fax on (03) 6173 0821 or by phoning the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.

Further Information and Resources

Influenza Immunisation Provider Toolkit, updated Fact Sheets, Influenza schedule and weekly updates of influenza notifications available at www.flu.tas.gov.au