New enhanced influenza vaccines for older Australians: what promise do they hold?

Sarah L Sheridan, Cyra Patel, Kristine Macartney and Allen C Cheng
Med J Aust 2018; 209 (3): . || doi: 10.5694/mja18.00334
Published online: 16 July 2018

New influenza vaccines for older people may provide improved protection against influenza-related disease

Influenza is the leading vaccine-preventable cause of morbidity and mortality each year in Australia.1 Older people are particularly at risk of severe outcomes from influenza, including hospitalisation, pneumonia, acute myocardial infarction and death.1-3 In 2017, the largest influenza season since the 2009 pandemic, 53 983 (22%) of all 249 932 notified influenza cases were in people aged ≥ 65 years (Box 1), and more than 90% of the 1100 influenza-related deaths reported occurred in older adults.4-6 Furthermore, these numbers are widely recognised as an underestimation of the true burden of disease.

  • 1 National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance, Children's Hospital at Westmead, Sydney, NSW
  • 2 University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW
  • 3 University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW
  • 4 Monash University, Melbourne, VIC
  • 5 Alfred Health, Melbourne, VIC


The views expressed in this article are those of the individual authors, and are not necessarily the views of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) or the National Immunisation Program. For information from ATAGI, please see the ATAGI statement on the administration of seasonal influenza vaccines in 2018 ( and the Australian Immunisation Handbook Influenza chapter (

Competing interests:

Allen Cheng and Kristine Macartney are members of ATAGI. Sarah Sheridan and Cyra Patel are employed at the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance, which provides technical support to the ATAGI. No funding was specifically provided for the drafting of this manuscript.

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