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New influenza vaccine for 2018

Updated by Dr Siva Nachiappan, 4 April 2018

Free Flu vaccine is available now

Flu vaccine is available and free if you are over 65 or you have some ongoing medical illness. Book with your nurse during the week day, if you cannot make it during the week , we have Saturday Flu clinics, select Flu Clinic as the practitioner in Health365 and book yourself for the vaccination.

Two funded quadrivalent influenza vaccines are available for 2018:

INFLUVAC® TETRA

For adults and children aged 3 years or older.

FLUARIX® TETRA

For children aged under 3 years, i.e. 6–35 months. This vaccine is expected to be available in mid-April

Of the four influenza strains included in the vaccine, two are new (in bold):

  • A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1) pdm09- like virus
  • A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016 (H3N2)-like virus
  • B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus
  • B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus

New influenza vaccination precaution

Influenza vaccination may be contraindicated or need to be delayed for people receiving some new cancer treatments. The immune-stimulant actions of:

  • atezolizumab (Tecentriq®),
  • ipilimumab (Yervoy®),
  • nivolumab (Opdivo®)
  • pembrolizumab (Keytruda®)
on the immune system increase a person’s risk of developing autoimmune conditions.

It is not known whether receipt of an influenza vaccine whilst receiving these treatments or for up to six months after treatment increases a theoretical risk of triggering the occurrence of these side effects.

INFLUVAC® TETRA and FLUARIX® TETRA can be given to people with egg allergy or anaphylaxis

For further information go to www.influenza.org.nz or www.moh.govt.nz or call 0800 IMMUNE 0800 466 863.