Australian flu vax not ‘out of date’ despite WHO tweaks

The WHO in late February amended its recommendation on the three influenza strains for vaccines to be made ahead of the 2012–13 northern winter.

Dr Alan Hampson (Hon MD), chair of the Influenza Specialist Group, said the A and B strains will be different from those covered in the trivalent influenza vaccine prepared – in accordance with earlier WHO advice – for the Australian season.

Dr Hampson, a former adviser to the WHO, said the vaccines were under “rolling formulation change” to ensure the best match possible for the circulating virus on their release.

“All influenza vaccines are always slightly redundant because we can’t make them instantly and the virus keeps changing,” he told MO.

“And yet all of the good data that we have [on reducing influenza burden globally] has been achieved with these ‘redundant’ vaccines.”

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