Flucelvax QUAD now available on NIP

Michelle Wisbey

3/04/2024 3:43:28 PM

The boost comes as Queensland and WA announce the rollout of subsidised flu vaccination programs to curb already surging cases.

Toddler getting a flu vaccine.
More than 30,000 cases of influenza have already been reported in Australia this year.

The cell-based quadrivalent influenza vaccine Flucelvax QUAD is now more widely available thanks to its addition to the National Immunisation Program (NIP) for the first time on Wednesday.
The vaccine is free for at-risk Australians, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 5–64 years, pregnant women, and those with co-existing medical conditions.
RACGP Specific Interests Respiratory Medicine Chair Dr Kerry Hancock welcomed the move, telling newsGP the vaccine’s addition to the NIP provides more choices for vulnerable patients.
‘The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation [ATAGI] highlights that there is no preference for use between Flucelvax Quad and standard dose egg-based influenza vaccines,’ she said.
Meanwhile, the Queensland and Western Australian Governments have revealed they will again be rolling out subsidised flu vaccine programs for their residents.
Laboratory-confirmed flu cases have already topped 30,000 this year, with New South Wales alone reporting more than 12,000, while there have been 8000 in Queensland, and 5000 in Victoria.
Young people have been the hardest hit by the virus, with one third of all cases being recorded among those aged 14 and younger.
Already this year in Queensland, 713 people have been admitted to hospital and 11 people have died, leading its State Government to offer a free flu vaccine to all residents aged over six months old.
The program, now in its third consecutive year, will run until 30 September.
More than 900,000 people received a vaccination during free programs in the state in 2022 and 2023.
Queensland Acting Chief Health Officer Dr Catherine McDougall said the number of hospitalisations recorded so far in 2024 are concerning given the state is months away from the typical peak flu season.
‘We hope to see more Queenslanders get vaccinated this year against the flu, particularly pregnant people, children aged between six months and five years, and those aged 65 and over,’ she said.
‘I encourage every Queenslander to take advantage of a free flu vaccination, as this may also help break the chain of transmission.’
Meanwhile in WA, free flu vaccinations will be available in May and June to all residents aged older than six months.
Last year, just one third of eligible West Australians received their influenza vaccination, with hopes these numbers will rise in 2024.
‘Concerningly, last year the flu hospitalised more than 1000 kids under nine-years old,’ WA Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson said.
‘That is why we are urging all Western Australians to get vaccinated against influenza at your GP, Aboriginal Medical Service or participating community pharmacy.’
Flucelvax QUAD will be produced in Australia from 2027 when a CSL Seqirus cell-based vaccine manufacturing facility begins operation in Melbourne.
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Dr Irene Rosul   4/04/2024 7:57:38 AM

We should make it free for everyone in NSW too.