Flu Vaccine for People Aged 65 Years and Over

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Flu Vaccine for People Aged 65 Years and Over

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Why should people aged 65 years and over get the flu vaccine?

Flu remains a common cause of hospitalisation and death in Australia. The highest rates of hospitalisation are seen in the elderly and children less than five years old.

People aged 65 years and over are at higher risk of serious complications from the flu should get the flu vaccine every year.

What vaccines are available for people aged 65 years and over?

The National Immunisation Program (NIP) provides free flu vaccine for people aged 65 years and over. In 2019, there is one vaccine available free through the NIP for people aged 65 years and over.

The vaccine is called a Trivalent Influenza vaccine (TIV). It covers three strains of flu: two influenza A strains and one influenza B strain.

One brand of TIV (Fluad) is free under the NIP and is available from GPs from mid-April.

Another TIV brand (Fluzone) is available on private prescription.

TIVs are specifically designed to create a greater immune response in those aged 65 years and older. Both brands are equally effective.

When is the best time to get the flu vaccine?

The flu season is usually between June and September.

The best time to get your vaccine is from mid-April as vaccine protection may wane around three to four months after receiving the vaccine.

How does this vaccine differ from the vaccine available for people aged less than 65 years?

People aged less than 65 years receive a Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine (QIV). It covers four strains: two influenza A and two influenza B strains.

While QIVs cover an additional influenza B virus, the benefits of a better immune response produced by the specifically formulated TIV means this is preferred for people aged 65 years and over.

Can people aged less than 65 years choose to have the TIV?

No. The TIV is only registered for use for people aged 65 years and over.

For more information

March 2019