With the Southern Hemisphere flu season soon to be upon us living down under, the Australian government-funded tetravalent flu vaccine will be available from 20th April, a month later than most years, as the vaccine has been reformulated to cover a new strain of the A(H3N2) viruses. Changes in this strain was behind most of the serious influenza cases in the Northern Hemisphere's recent winter, which resulted in some media coverage of the bad vaccination match against what actually eventuated.
A quadrivalent vaccine will be available privately that provides extra insurance that may be useful if unexpected viruses begin to circulate.
More from Aeron Hurt, Senior Research Scientist & Head of Antiviral Sensitivity Analysis at WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza:
As Aeron concludes: "So, if you or a loved one fall within the high-risk groups described above (which we do - Neil), getting the vaccine remains the most effective way to avoid the inconvenience and potentially severe health risks of the flu – and passing it on."
Photo: Skeleton weed seed head