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Influenza vaccine supply issue

UPDATE Additional influenza vaccine stock 

6 July 2019

The Ministry of Health and PHARMAC have advised that an additional 55,000 doses of the influenza vaccine FluQuadri have been sourced for delivery to New Zealand from Monday 8 July. This should enable providers to receive delivery from later that week onwards. Providers can now place orders for FluQuadri through HCL. A minimum and maximum order of 30 doses applies. FluQuadri is supplied with separate needles.

FluQuadri was approved for use in adults, including pregnant women, and children aged 3 years and older by Medsafe on 3 July 2019.  It has previously been used in New Zealand but this year had not completed the approval process until now. This has enabled it to be imported into New Zealand in response to higher than expected demand. 

While people at greatest risk from influenza continue to be the priority for influenza vaccination, the additional vaccines mean that other New Zealanders will be able to purchase FluQuadri once the new stocks arrive. Influvac Tetra and Afluria Quad will also be available for purchase by ineligible adults and children.

Fluarix Tetra continues to be the only vaccine approved for use in children aged under 3 years. Fluarix Tetra can continue to be used for pregnant women however, it would be wise for clinicians to use other vaccines where available and prioritise Fluarix Tetra for children aged 6–35 months.

 Immunisation providers are requested to read the Ministry of Health news item for additional information about claiming for administration of funded influenza vaccines.

Children aged 3 years to under 9 years who were not able to receive their second influenza vaccination

As influenza vaccine is available for purchase again, children aged 3 years to under 9 years can now receive their second purchased influenza vaccination to maximise their immune response against influenza.

Influenza vaccine brands are interchangeable, children who received Fluarix Tetra or Influvac Tetra for their first vaccination can receive the age appropriate vaccine available when their second dose is due (FluQuadri from 3 years or Afluria Quad from 5 years).

Children aged 6–35 months

While high-risk eligible children aged 6–35 months continue to be the priority to receive Fluarix Tetra, clinicians can make decisions on the use of Fluarix Tetra in children aged 6–35 months who are not eligible to receive a funded vaccine based on the risk to the individual child and the local availability of Fluarix Tetra.

Refund for unused/expired funded influenza vaccine

Please ensure you continue to have influenza vaccine stock available until 31 December for those who are eligible for influenza vaccination. One refund will be available for a total of 10 doses of unused Influvac Tetra and/or one dose of unused Fluarix Tetra and/or 5 doses of unused FluQuadri from any one account. To be eligible for a refund, the unused stock must be returned prior to 31 January 2020. Contact Healthcare Logistics on 0508 425 358 to request a Return Authorisation.

No refund is available for unused Afluria Quad doses.

 Links to Medsafe for the:

Influenza vaccine brand

Influenza vaccine eligibility by brand

Fluarix® Tetra
(no stock available to order)

  • High-risk eligible children aged 6–35 months.
  • Purchased for children aged 6–35 months who are not eligible to receive a funded vaccine based on the influenza risk to the individual child and the local availability of Fluarix Tetra.
  • Pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy.

FluQuadri™
(minimum and maximum of 30 doses/order)

  • Pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy.
  • High-risk eligible adults and children from 3 years of age.
  • Purchased by ineligible adults and children from 3 years of age.
  • Adults aged 65 years or over.
Influvac® Tetra
(no stock available to order)
  • Pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy.
  • High-risk eligible adults and children from 3 years of age.
  • Purchased by ineligible adults and children from 3 years of age.
  • Adults aged 65 years or over.
Afluria® Quad
(no stock available to order)
  • Pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy.
  • High-risk eligible adults and children from 5 years of age.
  • Purchased by ineligible adults and children from 5 years of age.
  • Adults aged 65 years or over.

Background information

The distribution of influenza vaccine in New Zealand has reached near record levels. Around 1.3 million doses of influenza vaccine have been distributed already this winter. This number is close to last year’s all-time record of 1.326 million doses for the entire season, and exceeds the number of doses distributed each year in 2016 and 2017.

  • Fluarix Tetra can still be ordered, with a maximum order of 5 doses.
  • FluQuadri can be ordered, with a minimum and maximum order of 30 doses.
  • No Influvac Tetra is available to order.
  • No Afluria Quad is available to order.

Please call your Immunisation Coordinator (not 0800 IMMUNE) if you have any questions about available stock in your area. Use this link to visit our Regional advisors and local coordinators webpage if you need to confirm the contact details for your Immunisation Coordinator.

Health professionals, please use the link to read the document  Managing influenza vaccine supply.

Reduce the spread of influenza

It is still important for those who have been vaccinated as well as those who have not to reduce the risk of spreading influenza:

  • Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough.
  • Wash and dry your hands often.
  • Stay away from others if you are sick.

Links to related documents and external websites

 Ministry of Healt Additional influenza vaccine stock - update 6 July 2019

 Ministry of Health Immunisation Update 11 June 2019

 PHARMAC media release 6 June 2019

Last updated: Jul 2019