MVEC’s Influenza vaccine FAQ reference page provides answers to commonly asked questions on the use of the Influenza vaccine. It can be used in conjunction with existing resources on Influenza

1. My 68 yr old patient has already paid for a quadrivalent influenza vaccine (QIV) this season. Should they receive the new trivalent vaccine (TIV) recommended for all > 65 year olds as well?

Yes, in this circumstance, we would recommend revaccination with either of the 2 higher-immunogenicity TIVs called Fluzone High-Dose and Fluad. It has been found that the over 65’s do not have an adequate immune response to the standard QIV. These two TIVs have not been available in Australia until 2018 and provide greater protection by either increasing the amount of flu strain (Fluzone high dose) or by containing an adjuvant (Fluad) in combination with the three flu strains. While there is protection against 1 less influenza strain the benefit of better protection against the 3 more common strains (most notably influenza A/H3N2 which is more prevalent and severe in the ≥65 year group) outweighs this loss. There should be a minimum of 4 weeks between the doses. A higher frequency of mild to moderate injection site reactions after receiving either of these 2 TIVs compared with the standard QIVs is expected.

2. Is one of the higher-immunogenicity trivalent influenza vaccines (TIVs) better than the other?

For adults aged ≥65 years, two higher-immunogenicity trivalent influenza vaccine (TIV) formulations (one a ‘high-dose’ vaccine and another containing an adjuvant) are available and NIP-funded. These TIVs (Fluzone High-Dose and Fluad) are preferentially recommended over QIVs for adults aged ≥65 years. However, there is no preference for use between either of these two TIVs.

3. Is it acceptable to administer a dose of the quadrivalent influenza vaccine (QIV) to a patient who has already received the trivalent vaccine (TIV)?

Revaccination later in the same season (with the same or different formulation) of influenza vaccines for individuals who have already received vaccination has not been recommended (except for recipients of solid organ or haematopoietic stem cell transplant receiving influenza vaccine for the first time post transplant).

4. My patient is 59 years old and requesting the new trivalent vaccine. Can they buy it on the private market?

These 2 higher-immunogenicity trivalent influenza vaccines are not registered for use for age <65 years. Hence for anyone <65 years requiring influenza vaccination, including those with increased risk of severe influenza, the usual advice regarding use of QIV remains applicable.

5. My child has an egg allergy. Can they receive the influenza vaccine?

Based on prospective and retrospective studies of influenza vaccination in those with and without egg allergy (including egg anaphylaxis), the presence of egg allergy does not increase the risk of allergic reactions to the influenza vaccine.

The influenza vaccine can be administered in community vaccination clinics (which may or may not have direct medical practitioner supervision), General Practitioner surgeries or Immunisation clinics, as a single dose followed by the recommended 15 minute observation period. For further information refer to MVEC: Allergy and Immunisation 

Reviewed by: Nigel Crawford (Director, SAEFVIC, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute), Georgie Lewis (Clinical Manager, SAEFVIC, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute) and Rachael McGuire (SAEFVIC Research Nurse, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute)

Date: May 2018

Materials in this section are updated as new information and vaccines become available. The Melbourne Vaccine Education Centre (MVEC) staff regularly reviews materials for accuracy.

You should not consider the information in this site to be specific, professional medical advice for your personal health or for your family’s personal health. For medical concerns, including decisions about vaccinations, medications and other treatments, you should always consult a healthcare professional.