2021 funded influenza vaccines

What are the funded influenza vaccines for 2021?

AFLURIA® QUAD JUNIOR

  • For children aged under 3 years, i.e., 6–35 months.
  • Funded for children who met the influenza vaccination eligibility criteria.
  • Available for those who do not meet the funded eligibility criteria through general practitioners at a cost.
  • The AFLURIA® QUAD JUNIOR data sheet for 2021 is expected to become available on the MedSafe website in March.

AFLURIA® QUAD

  • For children and adults aged 3 years to under 65 years.
  • Funded for children and adults who met the influenza vaccination eligibility criteria.
  • Available for those who do not meet the funded eligibility criteria through private immunisation providers (general practitioners or pharmacists or occupational health) at a cost.
  • The AFLURIA® QUAD data sheet for 2021 is expected to become available on the MedSafe website in March.

FLUAD® QUAD

  • For adults aged 65 years or older
  • Funded for adults who are eligible to receive publicly funded healthcare serives.
  • PHARMAC is funding this additional vaccine brand, a vaccine specifically made for those aged 65 and over, to ensure this important group has certainty of supply as early as possible, and to ensure there is enough influenza vaccine to meet demand and supply is continuous.
  • Link to the FLUAD® QUAD data sheet on the MedSafe website.

What are the funded influenza vaccine strains for 2021?

The 2021 vaccines will be quadrivalent influenza vaccines that contain the following four influenza strains, the first two strains are new to the 2021 vaccine:

  • A/Victoria/2570/2019 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
  • A/Hong Kong/2671/2019 (H3N2)-like virus
  • B/Washington/02/2019-like virus
  • B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus

Where are the influenza vaccines made?

AFLURIA® QUAD JUNIOR, AFLURIA® QUAD and FLUAD® QUAD are manufactured in Australia, the UK or the USA.

When should people be vaccinated?

It is possible to come in contact with influenza viruses all year round. However, the likelihood of influenza viruses circulating in the community significantly increases during winter.

For most people, the best time to be vaccinated against influenza is before the start of the winter season. It can take up to two weeks for the vaccine to provide the best influenza protection. However, influenza vaccinations can be given when influenza virus activity has been identified as protective antibody levels have been observed to develop rapidly from four days after vaccination.

It is recommended that women who become pregnant after winter and have not received the current influenza vaccination are offered influenza vaccination up to and including 31 December.

Is there a minimum interval between an influenza vaccination at the end of 2020 and this year's vaccination?

No minimum interval is required between an influenza vaccination in 2020 and one in 2021. The 2021 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.

ZOSTAVAX® and annual influenza vaccination

  • Annual influenza immunisation is recommended and funded for adults aged 65 years or over.
  • One ZOSTAVAX® is recommended for adults aged 65 years to under 80 years. This dose is also funded.
    • ZOSTAVAX® and influenza vaccine can be administered at the same visit.
    • ZOSTAVAX® is only given as a single dose – it IS NOT administered every year that an eligible adult receives their influenza vaccination.

Can FLUAD® QUAD, AFLURIA® QUAD or AFLURIA® QUAD JUNIOR be administered to people receiving anticoagulant mediation?

Yes. Influenza vaccines can be administered to people on anticoagulants, including aspirin, dabigatran (PRADAXA®), enexoparin (CLEXANE®), heparin, ticagrelor (BRILINTA®), and warfarin. After vaccination, apply firm pressure over the injection site without rubbing for 10 minutes to reduce the risk of bruising. Please refer to the Medsafe website www.medsafe.govt.nz for the PRADAXA®, CLEXANE® and BRILINTA® data sheets.

Can FLUAD® QUAD, AFLURIA® QUAD or AFLURIA® QUAD JUNIOR be administered simultaneoulsy with other vaccines?

Yes. Influenza vaccine can be administered with other vaccines, such as Tdap, the zoster (shingles) vaccine, pneumococcal, meningococcal 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 not essential.

Please refer to the Medsafe website www.medsafe.govt.nz for the PREVENAR 13® and PNEUMOVAX® 23 data sheets.

Can FLUAD® QUAD, AFLURIA® QUAD or AFLURIA® QUAD JUNIOR 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, although the data sheet advises caution in people who have a history of egg anaphylaxis. Studies have shown that influenza vaccines containing one microgram or less of ovalbumin do not trigger anaphylaxis in sensitive individuals. The residual ovalbumin in one dose of FLUAD® QUAD, AFLURIA® QUAD or AFLURIA QUAD® JUNIOR is below this limit.

Can FLUAD® QUAD, AFLURIA® QUAD and AFLURIA® QUAD JUNIOR  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. neomycin sulphate. 

How are FLUAD® QUAD, AFLURIA® QUAD and AFLURIA® QUAD JUNIOR produced?

FLUAD® QUAD is an inactivated vaccine that contains inactivated haemagglutinin proteins from the surface of the virus and a squalene-based oil-in-water emulsion. Influenza virus is grown in embryonated hens’ eggs and inactivated with formaldehyde. The haemagglutinin protein for each strain is harvested, purified and combined with the squalene-based oil-in-water adjuvant MF59C.1.

AFLURIA® QUAD and AFLURIA® QUAD JUNIOR are split virion vaccines that contain disrupted haemagglutinin proteins from the surface of the virus. Influenza virus is grown in embryonated hens’ eggs from disease-free flocks and inactivated. The haemagglutinin protein for each strain is harvested, purified and inactivated for use in the vaccine.

Do FLUAD® QUAD, AFLURIA® QUAD and AFLURIA® QUAD JUNIOR contain antibiotics?

FLUAD® QUAD contains traces of kanamycin and neomycin due to their use during production. The vaccine should be used with caution in people with known anaphylaxis to either of these antibiotics. 

AFLURIA® QUAD and AFLURIA® QUAD JUNIOR contain traces of neomycin and polymixin B due to their use during production. The vaccines should be used with caution in people with known anaphylaxis to either of these antibiotics.

Are FLUAD® QUAD, AFLURIA® QUAD and AFLURIA® QUAD JUNIOR latex free?

Yes. Neither FLUAD® QUAD, AFLURIA® QUAD nor AFLURIA® QUAD JUNIOR syringes or related components contain natural rubber latex.

Do FLUAD® QUAD, AFLURIA® QUAD and AFLURIA® QUAD JUNIOR contain blood products?

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

Do FLUAD® QUAD, AFLURIA® QUAD and AFLURIA® QUAD JUNIOR contain thiomersal?

No.These vaccines are preservative free. They do not contain thiomersal.

Can you get influenza from FLUAD® QUAD, AFLURIA® QUAD and AFLURIA® QUAD JUNIOR?

No. These vaccines have been made from influenza viruses that have been concentrated, inactivated, and then broken apart. Inactivated influenza vaccines such as FLUAD® QUAD, AFLURIA® QUAD and AFLURIA® QUAD JUNIOR cannot 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.

Does the influenza vaccine protect against coronaviruses?

Influenza vaccine does not protect against coronavirus infections; however, it will help prevent a serious illness that causes hundreds of deaths each winter in New Zealand.

Could influenza vaccination increase the risk of infection with coronaviruses or make COVID-19 disease worse?

No. Influenza vaccination does not increase the risk of being infected with the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus or any other respiratory virus.

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,
  • adolescents and adults aged 13–64 years who have an eligible condition, and
  • people aged 65 years or over

List of vaccinating Pharmacies