Fri, 01/07/2022 | News

Low flu vaccination rates leaving Australians vulnerable 

Less than 35% of Australians have been vaccinated against influenza (flu), newly released data reported by NCIRS have shown.  

Vaccination rates in two population groups at high risk of severe influenza are even lower than the overall rate: 25% in children from 6 months to under 5 years of age and 23% in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people ≥6 months of age.

These low rates of influenza vaccination coverage are leaving Australians vulnerable when influenza disease rates are at the highest level since before the COVID-19 pandemic and rapidly increasing.  This is concerning as flu can be serious in healthy people of any age.

In 2022 several states have made the flu vaccine free to everyone ≥6 months of age to encourage higher uptake because of concerns about a severe flu season following removal of pandemic-related restrictions and reduced immunity due to low levels of influenza in the community in 2020 and 2021.

Influenza (flu) vaccination is strongly recommended for all Australians ≥6 months of age and is provided free under the National Immunisation Program for people at increased risk of complications. These include adults ≥65 years of age; children 6 months to <5 years of age; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people ≥6 months of age; pregnant women; and people ≥6 months of age with certain medical conditions

View the NCIRS website for more detailed influenza coverage data: https://www.ncirs.org.au/influenza-vaccination-coverage-data 

Interview requests and further information:

Media contact: NCIRS | 0429 350 279 | SCHN-NCIRSMedia@health.nsw.gov.au