2018 Funded influenza vaccines

What are the funded influenza vaccines for 2018?

     • INFLUVAC® TETRA (Mylan) is the funded influenza vaccine for adults and children aged 3 years or older.
     • FLUARIX® TETRA (GSK) is the funded influenza vaccine for children aged under 3 years, i.e. aged 6–35 months.

Both are quadrivalent vaccines. For more information, please refer to the Medsafe data sheets (www.medsafe.govt.nz or www.influenza.org.nz) and vaccines summary table.

What are the funded influenza vaccine strains for 2018?

The funded quadrivalent influenza vaccines in 2018 offer protection against the following influenza strains:

     • A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1) pdm09-like virus
     • A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016 (H3N2)-like virus
     • B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus
     • B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus

The A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016 (H3N2)-like virus in this year's vaccine is broadly matched to the strain being referred to in the media as 'Australian flu'. This strain circulated in the southern hemisphere during winter 2017 and severely affected the northern hemisphere during their 2017–2018 winter.

Is there a minimum interval between an influenza vaccination at the end of 2017 and this year's vaccination?

No minimum intervalis required between an influenza vaccination in 2017 and one in 2018. The 2018 influenza vaccination can be given as soon as the vaccine is available.

Why is an influenza vaccination recommended every year?

Yearly vaccination is recommended for two reasons: first, because protection from the previous vaccination lessens over time; and second, because the circulating influenza viruses can change and the strains in the vaccine usually change each year in response to the changing virus pattern.

Can INFLUVAC® TETRA or FLUARIX® TETRA be administered to people receiving anticoagulant mediation?

Yes. Influenza vaccines can be administered to people on anticoagulants, including aspirin, dabigatran (Pradaxa®), enexoparin (Clexane®), heparin, and warfarin. After vaccination, apply firm pressure over the injection site without rubbing for 10 minutes to reduce the risk of bruising.

Can INFLUVAC® TETRA or FLUARIX® TETRA be administered simultaneoulsy with other vaccines?

Yes. Influenza vaccine can be administered with other vaccines, such as Tdap, the zoster (shingles) vaccine, pneumococcal vaccines or the childhood National Immunisation Schedule vaccines. However, the vaccines must be given at different injection sites.

In one study, children aged 6-23 months are two to three times more likely to develop a fever of 38°C–39°C during the first 24 hours after receiving influenza and PCV13 (PREVENAR13®) vaccines at the same visit compared with children who received the vaccines on separate days.

Around one in 10 adults have an increased risk of experiencing fatigue, headache and/or body aches and pains during the 14 days after receiving influenza and PCV13 vaccines at the same visit.

Around two in 10 adults have an increase risk of redness or pain at the site of one or both injection sites when receiving influenza and 23PPV (PNEUMOVAX®23) vaccines concurrently.

Separating administration of these vaccines by two days can be offered, but is notessential.

Can INFLUVAC® TETRA or FLUARIX® TETRA be given to people with egg allergy or anaphylaxis?

Yes. These vaccines can be safely administered to people with a history of egg allergy or egg anaphylaxis at general practices, pharmacies or at the workplace. Studies have shown that influenza vaccines containing less than one microgram of ovalbumin do not trigger anaphylaxis in sensitive individuals. The residual ovalbumin in one dose of INFLUVAC® TETRA or FLUARIX® TETRA is significantly below this limit.

Can INFLUVAC® TETRA and FLUARIX® TETRA be given to people with a sulfonamide (sulfer) allergy?

Yes. Sulfonamide (sulfur) antibiotics, such as cotrimoxazole, sulfasalazine, and sulfite preservatives used in food are different to medicines containing the words sulfate or sulphate, e.g. gentamicin sulphate. 

How are INFLUVAC® TETRA and FLUARIX® TETRA produced?

INFLUVAC® TETRA and FLUARIX® TETRA are subunit vaccines that contain only viral surface antigens (haemagglutinin proteins). Influenza virus is grown in embryonated hens’ eggs from disease-free flocks and inactivated. The haemagglutinin protein for each strain is harvested and purified for use in the vaccine.

Do INFLUVAC® TETRA and FLUARIX® TETRA contain gentamicin?

Yes. Both vaccines contain traces of gentamicin due to the use of this substance during production. INFLUVAC® TETRA and FLUARIX® TETRA should be used with caution in people with a hypersensitivity to gentamicin.


INFLUVAC® TETRA syringes do not contain any latex components. However, the manufacturer (Mylan) is unable to confirm that the product did not come in contact with any latex materials during the manufacturing and packaging process.

FLUARIX® TETRA prefilled syringes with a separate needle do not have any components made using natural rubber latex. 

If no latex-free influenza vaccine is available, please call 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863) before vaccinating a person who is highly sensitive to latex with a history of severe hypersensitivity response.

Does  INFLUVAC® TETRA and FLUARIX® TETRA contain blood products?

No. No blood products are used in the manufacturing processes of these vaccines.

Does INFLUVAC® TETRA and FLUARIX® TETRA contain thiomersal?

No.Both these vaccines are preservative free. They do not contain thiomersal.

Can you get influenza from INFLUVAC® TETRA and FLUARIX® TETRA?

No. These vaccines have been made from influenza viruses that have been concentrated, inactivated, and then broken apart. Neither INFLUVAC® TETRA nor FLUARIX® TETRA can cause influenza as the vaccines do not contain any live viruses.

Sometimes influenza vaccination is accused of causing the disease. There are two possible reasons for this. First, when vaccinated, the body responds to vaccination by producing an immune response. This can include systemic symptoms such as fever, headache or fatigue, which may mistakenly be assumed to be early signs of influenza but are the body responding to the vaccination. Second, other respiratory viruses and bacteria circulate during the winter months and influenza vaccination does not protect against these.

Most of these other viruses cause milder infections. However, some viruses and bacteria may produce influenza-like symptoms and/or quite severe illness which can lead to the suggestion that influenza vaccination is ineffective. These illnesses should not be confused with influenza.

How effective are the vaccines against influenza strains not included in the formulation?

Effectiveness can be reduced by a difference between circulating virus strains and vaccine strains. The influenza virus keeps changing and new vaccines are formulated for each northern and southern hemisphere season. There may be some cross protection against a virus type that is not in the vaccine but the amount of protection cannot be guaranteed or easily quantified.

Pharmacist vaccinators

Many community pharmacies offer purchased influenza vaccination for individuals aged 13 years or older. Some community pharmacies also provide funded influenza vaccination for:

  • pregnant women, and
  • people aged 65 years or over