Flu Vaccination 2017

March 7, 2017

 

 

2017 Seasonal influenza vaccine

What are the seasonal strains for 2017?

This year’s seasonal influenza vaccine will offer protection against the following strains:

  • A (H1N1): an A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1) - like virus   (new strain)
  • A (H3N2): an A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2) - like virus    
  • B/Brisbane/60/2008 - like virus        

What is the additional influenza vaccine strain in the 2017 quadrivalent vaccine?

B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus.

What is the funded seasonal influenza vaccine for 2017?

INFLUVAC® (Mylan - manufactured in the Netherlands) is the funded vaccines for 2017.

Is INFLUVAC® a single dose vaccine?

Yes. When a half-dose (0.25mL) of vaccine is required for a child aged 6–35 months, the unused portion of vaccine must be discarded.

How is INFLUVAC® produced?

INFLUVAC® is a subunit vaccine which contains only viral surface antigens (protein haemagglutinins). The vaccine is inactivated.

Influenza virus is grown in embryonated hens’ eggs from disease-free flocks. The haemagglutinin protein for each strain is harvested and purified for use in influenza vaccine.

Can INFLUVAC® be given to people with egg allergies?

In most cases the vaccine can be safely administered to people with a history of allergy to egg. An individual with an egg allergy that does not result in anaphylaxis can be vaccinated at general practices, pharmacies or the workplace.

If an individual has a high-risk of complications from influenza and has a history of anaphylaxis to eggs, it is important to seek specialist advice about influenza vaccination. The risk of anaphylaxis needs to be considered against the benefits of being protected from influenza or its complications. As the vaccine virus is grown in hens’ eggs it may contain minute amounts of egg protein.

Does INFLUVAC® contain blood products?

No. No blood products are used in the INFLUVAC®. manufacturing process.

Does INFLUVAC® contain thiomersal?

No. INFLUVAC® is preservative free. The vaccine does not contain thiomersal.

Does INFLUVAC® contain gentamicin?

Yes. INFLUVAC® vaccine contains traces of gentamicin due to the use of these substances during production. INFLUVAC® should be used with caution in people with a hypersensitivity to gentamicin. 

Is INFLUVAC® latex free?

INFLUVAC® 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. Patients highly sensitive to latex, who have a history of severe hypersensitivity reaction to this material are advised that they should consult their doctor.

Can INFLUVAC® be administered simultaneously with other vaccines?

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

Children receiving influenza and 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate (PCV13) vaccines concurrently have an increased risk of postvaccination fever. Adults have an increased risk of fatigue, headache and body aches and pains when these vaccines are administered concurrently. Separating administration of these vaccines by two days can be offered, but is not essential.

Adults receiving influenza and 23PPV (PNEUMOVAX® 23) vaccines concurrently have an increased risk of redness at the site of one or both injections.

Can INFLUVAC® be given to people with egg allergies?

In most cases the vaccine can be safely administered to people with a history of allergy to egg. An individual with an egg allergy that does not result in anaphylaxis can be vaccinated at general practices, pharmacies or the workplace.

If an individual has a high-risk of complications from influenza and has a history of anaphylaxis to eggs, it is important to seek specialist advice about influenza vaccination. The risk of anaphylaxis needs to be considered against the benefits of being protected from influenza or its complications. As the vaccine virus is grown in hens’ eggs it may contain minute amounts of egg protein.

Can INFLUVAC® be given to people with a sulfonamide (sulfur) allergy?

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

Can you get influenza from INFLUVAC®?

No. The vaccine has been made from influenza viruses that has been concentrated, inactivated, then broken apart. INFLUVAC® cannot cause influenza as the vaccine does not contain any live viruses.

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

Most of these 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 vaccination is ineffective. These illnesses should not be confused with influenza.

How effective is the vaccine against influenza strains not included in the formulation?

Effectiveness can be reduced by the 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 an influenza virus not in the vaccine.

Pharmacist Vaccinators

Some community pharmacies provide purchased influenza vaccination to individuals aged 13 years and older. In 2017, some community pharmacies will also be able to provide funded influenza vaccination to:

  • those aged 65 years and over                    
  • pregnant women

 

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