Influenza Immunisation Program 2023

Influenza (flu) vaccination is recommended every year for any person 6 months of age and over, to reduce the likelihood of becoming ill with influenza.

As the strains of the flu virus can change from year to year, receiving a flu vaccine every year provides the best protection against current influenza virus strains.

The best time to vaccinate is autumn, but influenza vaccines can be given at any time during the flu season while the vaccine is available. It usually takes up to two weeks for the influenza vaccine to provide protection.

The 2024 Annual Funded Influenza Program is expected to commence March/April 2024.

The recommendations for the 2023 Program will remain until the 2024 vaccines and the ATAGI guidelines are available and the 2024 program commences.

Vaccines available under the National Immunisation Program

All funded vaccines available for use in Australia for the 2023 influenza season are quadrivalent (four strains - two influenza A and two influenza B) and contain the following strains:

  • A/Sydney/5/2021 (H1N1) pdm09-like virus;
  • A/Darwin/9/2021 (H3N2)-like virus;
  • B/Austria/1359417/2021 (B/Victoria lineage)-like virus; and
  • B/Phuket/3073/2013 (B/Yamagata lineage)-like virus.

For information on the vaccines available as part of the National Immunisation Program see the Annual Funded Influenza Program 2023 South Australia Schedule (PDF 61KB).

Eligible groups under the National Immunisation Program

In 2023, free influenza vaccination is available for the following people who are at greater risk of disease and developing complications if they get influenza:

  • all pregnant women (any trimester)
  • people six months of age or older with the following underlying chronic medical conditions:
    • cardiac disease
    • chronic respiratory conditions, including severe asthma
    • chronic neurological conditions that impact respiratory function, including hereditary and degenerative central nervous system diseases and seizure disorders
    • immunocompromising conditions, including immunocompromise due to disease or treatment
    • diabetes and other metabolic disorders
    • renal disease
    • haematological disorders, including haemoglobinopathies
    • children aged six months to 10 years on long term aspirin therapy who are at increased risk of Reye syndrome following influenza infection.
  • children aged 6 months to less than 5 years of age
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over
  • all people aged 65 years and over.

While the flu vaccine is funded for eligible people some providers may charge a consultation or service fee. Please discuss this with your immunisation provider when making your booking.

State Funded Influenza Program for people experiencing homelessness

Adults and children who are experiencing homelessness and are not eligible for free flu vaccines under the NIP are eligible to receive flu vaccines for free under the state funded program.

Some providers may charge a consultation or service fee. Please discuss this with your immunisation provider when making your booking.

Recommendations

  • Two doses of vaccine at least one month apart are recommended for children aged less than 9 years when getting a flu vaccine for the first time, to improve their immune response. If a child only received one dose the first time receiving the vaccine, they only require one each subsequent year.
  • The COVID-19 vaccine and flu vaccine can be given on the same day.
  • There is no requirement to delay your flu vaccination after COVID-19 infection. You can receive the flu vaccine once you have recovered from the acute symptoms of COVID-19

For more information see the ATAGI clinical recommendations for COVID-19 vaccines.

People with allergies

People with egg allergy, including a history of anaphylaxis, can be safely vaccinated with flu vaccines. You do not have to be vaccinated in a hospital setting. If you have an egg allergy please discuss this with your immunisation provider.

All funded influenza vaccines available in Australia in 2023 are latex-free.

Accessing a flu vaccine

To receive the annual flu vaccine, contact your doctor, local council, community health centre, Aboriginal health centre or an approved pharmacy. For further information on immunisation providers, see the immunisation services page.

Further information

For further information on the free flu vaccine programs, contact your local doctor or immunisation provider.