New research: Time to lift uptake of flu vaccination in children

Influenza vaccine uptake in children has grown in response to increased awareness and progressive expansion of funding, according to the authors of a Perspective published earlier this week in the Medical Journal of Australia.

While there was a 44% uptake in flu vaccine in children aged six to 59 months in 2020, the authors suggest that Australia needs further strategies to improve and sustain high coverage, such as greater access to vaccination services and tools to assist healthcare providers to promote influenza vaccine.

All Australians aged six months or older are recommended to receive annual influenza vaccination, with free influenza vaccines for the highest risk groups provided by the National Immunisation Program (NIP). The NIP expanded in 2019 to include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of all ages (closing the funding gap for those aged 5 to <15 years), and in 2020, influenza vaccine was added to the NIP for all children aged six to 59 months.

In addition to the NIP eligibility, in 2021 in WA all primary-school aged children (up until year 6 and born after 2008) are eligible for a government funded flu vaccination.

See also the “Influenza Immunisation” HealthPathway.