Flu vaccines and children: coming free to most Australian States and Territories in 2018

Back in October 2017, Queensland Health, Queensland Government (Australia) held a summit following on from our horrendous year of influenza.[1]

One of the announcements associated with that summit was news that the Queensland Government was going to fund free influenza vaccine for all children aged 6 months to under 5 years of age for the upcoming winter flu season of 2018.

The federal government currently provides free flu vaccine to a number of groups who are most at risk of severe complications from influenza infection.[2] These groups include:

  • Those 6 months and over with medical risk factors
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children 6 months to less than 5 years
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 15 years and over
  • Adults 65 years and over
  • Pregnant women

2018 will also include 2 high-dose vaccines for those in the 65 years and over group.[3,4]

The new inclusion of healthy young children is great news for a few reasons:

  • over the past 10 flu seasons, children have often had the highest rates of infection[10] 
  • young children have the highest rates of hospitalization for flu (figure below)
  • children are effective transmitters of flu viruses – and viruses in general!

Examples of influenza infection hospitalization rates in Queenslanders. This highlights the high rates (see the line accompanying and the right-hand y-axis) among young children, which are higher than those for any other age group, including adults >65 years of age.
Graphs from Queensland Health, Queensland Government annual influenza reports.[10]

After Queensland’s 2017 announcement, New South Wales,[5] Victoria,[6] the Australian Capital Territory,[7] and South Australia (contingent on upcoming election outcome) [9] announced similar State-funded programs.

Western Australia has had this program in place since 2008.[8] Only Tasmania and the Northern Territory do not seem to have hopped on board in some way as yet.

The hope is that this could one day be federally funded. 

Removing one barrier to flu vaccination, namely its cost, may help increase uptake in this group and in doing so protect young lives, protect older lives and reduce the scale of seasonal epidemics.

A remaining problem here is flu vaccine uptake.

In Australia, flu vaccination rates are pretty low in some groups. In an early study reported late last year, only 27-37% of flu infected or uninfected people had been vaccinated, respectively.[11] Drilling further into this study:

  • among those >65 years if age, vaccination rates were as high as 80%
  • among children < 15 years of age, only 6% were vaccinated. 6%!
  • among adults 15 to 64 years of age, 26%-35%

Having the vaccines funded for kids is a great step forward and so are higher dose vaccines for the elderly but we need to step up if we want to protect ourselves and those around us.

Flu vaccines are safer than a dose of the flu and while we wait for the Utopian universal flu vaccine to arrive, some protection from current formulations is far better than than none.

Get the shot this year. It’s only about a month or so away. 

A flu vaccine is one annoying little prick that you won’t have to deal with later and that you could be extremely grateful for come winter. 


  1. Government to hold summit following severe flu season
  2. National Immunisation Program Schedule: Flu (influenza) vaccines
  3. Ground-breaking flu vaccines to protect millions of Aussies
  4. Here’s why the 2017 flu season was so bad
  5. Free flu shots for NSW children under five after ‘horror’ season [23JAN2018]
  6. Free flu vaccinations for Victorian kids under five after 2017 epidemic [24FEB2018]
  7. Canberra children to get free flu vaccines after shocking 2017 season
  8. History of vaccination in Australia.
    PDF on Influenza
  9. SA election: Labor promises free flu vaccinations for young children [04MAR2018]
  10. Influenza surveillance reporting, Queensland Health, Queensland Government
  11. Low interim influenza vaccine effectiveness, Australia, 1 May to 24 September 2017

1 thought on “Flu vaccines and children: coming free to most Australian States and Territories in 2018”

  1. To measure the water you drink, there is a 3 liter kettle. Mum has 2 times to boil. In the morning, almost every day I eat milk porridge and almost every night I drink katyk. I do not work calmly. A Muslim, 5 times a day I take a bath in icy water. Tempered 5 times a day.

    According to the disease, olivopontocebric degeneration with cerebellar outgrowth is the threshold of life from 10 to 20 years. And to me 40 years illness in 15 years was shown. I’m alive because of my immunity and I’m not going to die.
    I made 2 immunograms, the indices were exceeded,

    What does it mean when the pressure is 140 to 60?
    The difference between upper and lower pressure is considered pulse pressure. Its norm is from 30 to 40 mm Hg. Art. When the pressure jumps up or sharply decreases, the pulse pressure remains at the usual level. But sometimes the difference is more than 40 mm, which indicates the presence of pathology.

    Increase in pulse pressure occurs in healthy people with various overloads, but within 10-15 minutes, the PAD usually normalizes.

    With fever, chills and pain, the flu can injure the body. Some influenza viruses can also clog the brain. A few months after the infection with the flu, the mice showed signs of brain damage and memory problems, scientists said on February 26 in the journal Neuroscience.
    In Japan, came up with a cure for the flu but get it for money. And I offer my immunity for free as a volunteer. Leukocytes are copied.

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