9 fast facts on the new flu vaccines
In response to the record-breaking 2017 flu season, the Department of Health has announced the addition of two new high-dose vaccines for over-65s to the National Immunisation Program.
Here are nine things to know:
- Both are trivalent vaccines and available on the program from April.
- The vaccines are marketed under the names Fluzone High-Dose and Fluad.
- Fluzone contains four times the haemagglutinin of the standard dose, protecting against two A lineages — H3N2 and H1N1 — and one B lineage. Randomised controlled trials in the US have found it is 24% more effective than the regular trivalent influenza vaccine.
- Fluad is a trivalent vaccine containing an adjuvant to boost protection. A Canadian case-controlled study found it was 22% more effective.
- Infectious disease expert Professor Robert Booy says both vaccines have comparable efficacy.
- GPs will not have to provide patients with additional warnings around possible adverse reactions beyond the standard advice they currently provide.
- Prophylactic paracetamol is not necessary.
- Local reactions may involve redness and swelling, but this should dissipate within a couple of days.
- Under-65s can continue to receive the regular trivalent influenza vaccine.