Influenza Immunisation Programme Update
The Ministry of Health released an Influenza Immunisation Programme Update for providers, advising more than 2.4 million doses of vaccine will be available for the 2021 influenza season – almost 300,000 doses more than last year’s record supply. They reported they were pleased to hear that many immunisation providers have already received their first orders of FLUAD QUAD for people aged 65 and over as planned, well in advance of the 14 April start date of the programme for this age group.
The Ministry advised the start dates for the Influenza Immunisation Programme were based on information about vaccine availability from the supplier, and on feedback from the sector that they required stock to arrive ahead of the start of the programme. They acknowledged that distribution takes longer to some parts of the country and it is important that all providers have stock ahead of the start date.
The Ministry confirmed that the start date of the Programme for people aged 65 years and over remains 14 April 2021.
The Ministry have received confirmation from the vaccine supplier that the vaccines for people aged under 65 will be available from 17 May 2021. As with FLUAD QUAD, distribution of these vaccines will begin ahead of this date to ensure that all providers have stock ready to begin.
- A manufacturing issue with AFLURIA QUAD has meant that it has been approved for use in people aged 5 years and over ONLY.
- A different brand, INFLUVAC TETRA, will be available for use in children aged 3–4 years of age.
- Please only order and use INFLUVAC TETRA for children aged 3–4 years.
- AFLURIA QUAD JUNIOR will be available for children aged 6–35 months, i.e., under 3 years.
- AFLURIA QUAD, INFLUVAC TETRA and AFLURIA QUAD JUNIOR are expected to be available to order through the HCL website from 27 April.
- HCL will update their website as more information becomes available.
The table shows the vaccines available in 2021 and the age groups that they should be used in:
|Vaccine||Age group||Pack size||Available to order||Vaccination start date|
|FLUAD® QUAD||65 years and over||Ten (10) doses per pack||Now||From 14 April|
|AFLURIA® QUAD||5–64 years||Ten (10) doses per pack||From 27 April||From 17 May|
|INFLUVAC® TETRA||3–4 years||One (1) dose per pack||From 27 April||From 17 May|
|AFLURIA® QUAD JUNIOR||6–35 months, i.e., under 3 years||One (1) dose per pack||From 27 April||From 17 May|
The Ministry asked providers to focus on reaching people eligible for an influenza vaccine, as well as healthcare and other frontline workforces, to ensure that those at greatest risk of serious illness from influenza are protected. They acknowledged that for some providers, this change will be disruptive, and the Ministry is working with their partners in the immunisation and health sector to ensure they support them to deliver the programme.
Providers can email questions about the Programme to the Ministry of Health Immunisation Team:
Email: [email protected].