Cartoon image of a man showing his arm where he received a vaccination

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Visit our influenza website for more information


Annual influenza immunisation is recommended to provide protection from the predominant circulating influenza strains. The vaccine should be given before the influenza season in New Zealand.

The World Health Organization monitors influenza illness throughout the year and makes recommendations on which four influenza types are likely to cause the most illness in the northern and in the southern hemisphere during their respective influenza seasons. Vaccine ingredients are specific to the brand of influenza vaccine they are associated with and may vary to year. Specific information on ingredients in the vaccines use each season can be found in the individual Medsafe vaccine datasheets.

Influenza immunisation is recommended and offered free to:

  • Pregnant women (any trimester)
  • People aged 65 years older
  • Māori and Pacific peoples aged 55 to 64 years
  • People aged under 65 years with any of the medical conditions listed in this pdf
  • People under 65 years of age who have schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, or schizoaffective disorder; OR are currently accessing secondary or tertiary mental health and addiction services
  • Children aged 6 months to 12 years inclusive

Those not eligible for a free influenza immunisation can purchase one through their family doctor or a vaccinating pharmacy.

Some employers fund influenza vaccinations for their employees.

*Adults aged 18 years or older must also be eligible to receive publicly funded health and disability services in New Zealand to receive funded influenza vaccination.

Responses to vaccine

Influenza vaccine (QIV)
Very common side effects
Common reponses

Responses associated with Afluria Quad Junior and Afluria Quad:

  • Mild pain, redness and swelling around injection site (children and adults)
  • Fever, irritability, loss of appetite (children)
  • Headache, muscle aches, fatigue (adults)

Responses associated with Fluad Quad in older adults:

  • Warmth, mild pain, swelling, and itching around injection site
  • Fatigue, feverishness, nausea, muscle aches, headache
Rare responses

Other formulations and brands

Brands: Afluria Quad Junior, Afluria Quad, Fluad Quad, FluQuadri

Schedule vaccines

Visit our influenza website for more information

Information about influenza immunisation in 2023 for people who are not health professionals can be found on the Manatū Haora website pages here.


Visit our influenza website for more information

  • Afluria Quad, Afluria Quad Junior, Fluad Quad and FluQuadri can be given to people with a known history of egg anaphylaxis.
  • Influenza vaccine can be administered to women planning pregnancy and pregnant women in any trimester.
  • Women who are breast feeding can safely have the influenza vaccine. No adverse consequences for a breast feeding infant have been observed following vaccination of lactating women.
  • The ideal time to immunise a person having chemotherapy or radiation therapy is prior to onset of treatment. When this is not possible for the current season, influenza vaccination is recommended for children and adults undergoing cancer chemotherapy as soon as the vaccine becomes available. Following cessation of treatment normal immune responses return after about 30 days.
  • Specialist advice should be sought regarding influenza vaccination after bone marrow transplantation. Typically these patients commence annual influenza vaccinations from 6 months post-transplant.
  • Where a person has a history of Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) occurring within 6 weeks of a previous influenza vaccination the decision to administer the influenza vaccine must be made on an individual basis after careful consideration of the risks and benefits.

    Epidemiological studies have suggested either no increased risk or a possible slight increase in risk of around one case per million adult influenza vaccinations.

    A study in the United Kingdom compared the incidence of GBS following influenza vaccination and following influenza-like illness. The relative incidence of GBS after vaccination was not increased however the risk after influenza-like illness was seven times higher.
  • Travellers should consider immunisation or re-immunisation prior to travel to the Northern Hemisphere during their influenza season when the influenza vaccine available in New Zealand provides protection against influenza viruses circulating in the Northern Hemisphere.

Recommended dosing schedule:

Vaccine Age Dose No. of doses
Afluria Quad Junior 6 - 35 months 0.25 mL 1 or 2*
Afluria Quad 3 - 8 years 0.5 mL 1 or 2*
≥ 9 years 1
FluQuadri 6 months
- 8 years
0.5 mL 1 or 2*
≥ 9 years 1
Fluad Quad ≥ 65 years 0.5 mL 1

* Two doses separated by at least 4 weeks if an influenza vaccine is being administered for the first time.

Waiting after receiving an influenza vaccination

The 20-minute waiting period continues to be the best option when the waiting area is adequate and safe. Adolescents aged 13 years or older and adults receiving any other vaccination, and all children aged under 13 years need to remain under observation for the 20-minutes post-vaccination.

If the risk of exposure to infectious disease in a crowded waiting room is higher than the low risk of anaphylactic events, for those receiving only an influenza vaccination the observation period can be reduced to 5 minutes if those people meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • are aged 13 years and over
  • do not have a history of severe allergic reactions
  • have been assessed for any immediate post vaccination adverse reactions (5 minutes)
  • are aware of when they need to and how to seek post-vaccination advice
  • will have another adolescent or adult with them for the first 20 minutes post vaccination
  • will not drive, skate, scoot, ride a bike or operate machinery until 20 minutes post vaccination
  • have the ability to contact emergency services if required

Administration of influenza vaccine and other vaccines

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Storage and preparation

Store as per the cold chain, between +2°C to +8°C. Protect from light. The expiry date of the vaccine is the last day of the month in the year indicated on the packaging.

Vaccine Safety

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For all vaccines, similar to most medications, an extremely rare allergic reaction called ‘anaphylaxis’ can occur. Anaphylaxis after immunisation occurs about 1–3 times in every one million vaccine doses. All vaccinators will have training and equipment to deal with this situation in the unlikely event of it occurring. No other serious responses to the vaccine have been identified.

Influenza vaccine should not be given to:

  • Anyone with severe allergy (anaphylaxis) to a previous dose of this vaccine or a component of the vaccine (except egg anaphylaxis).

Influenza immunisation should be postponed for:

  • Individuals suffering from a fever over 38°C.
  • The presence of a minor infection is not a reason to delay immunisation.

Vaccine Effectiveness

  • Influenza immunisation protects around 7–8 pregnant women out of 10 from serious influenza related illness requiring hospital treatment. Around half of infants whose mother had an influenza immunisation during pregnancy are also protected from influenza for up to 6 months after birth.
  • Very little information on how effective the influenza vaccine in infants under 2 years of age has been collected. The information collected suggests about 6–7 in 10 infants in this age group will be protected from influenza.
  • Influenza immunisation will protect around 6–7 in 10 healthy children under 3 years of age, around 6–7 in 10 healthy children under 16 years of age, and 4–6 in 10 healthy adults from influenza. The influenza vaccine only has a modest reduction in the time healthy adults take off work due to influenza.
  • The influenza vaccines have a modest effect, around up to 60%, in preventing confirmed influenza in those aged 65 years and over living in the community, and can reduce the number of older people needing to be hospitalised with influenza-related pneumonia and complications. Influenza vaccine has also been shown to reduce the risk of influenza-related pneumonia in older people living in long term care facilities who develop complications related to influenza.


  • Airey J, Albano FR, Sawlwin DC, Jones AG, Formica N, Matassa V, et al. Immunogenicity and safety of a quadrivalent inactivated influenza virus vaccine compared with a comparator quadrivalent inactivated influenza vaccine in a pediatric population: A phase 3, randomized noninferiority study. Vaccine. 2017;35(20):2745-52.
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