We have seen another high flu season this year which saw a number of influenza viruses circulating both the Brisbane and the Phuket influenza B strains. The Turnbull Government would upgrade the Government‘s National Immunisation Program to include a new influenza vaccine for 2016 that will cover four flu strains- up from three in 2015.
New vaccine would include the Brisbane and Phuket strains of the influenza virus, which contributed to the record high of 90,000 reported flu cases in Australia in 2015 – 25,000 higher compared to the previous record of 65,000 cases reported last year. The strains to be included in next year’s quadrivalent (four strain) vaccine aligned with World Health Organization recommendations for the Southern hemisphere. The Government currently spends upwards of $40 million immunising Australians against flu. The Government will offer two vaccines in 2016 – one for people aged three years and over and one that is specifically tailored for children under three.
The new 2016 quadrivalent vaccine would cover two A strains of influenza (California and Hongkong) and two B strains of influenza (Brisbane and Phuket)”. Influenza B Virus are estimated to have counted for about 62% of flu cases in Australia in 2015.