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How effective is the flu vaccine?

Page last updated 09 April 2020

Each year, the flu vaccine effectiveness can vary – and it will depend on your age and other conditions and risk factors. It can also depend on the specific strains of influenza circulating in your community – the more closely they match the strains in the vaccine, the higher the effectiveness is expected to be.

It takes between 5 – 6 months to manufacture a next year’s influenza vaccine. 

Each year the World Health Organisation (WHO), along with a specific team of collaborating researchers, makes recommendations on which virus strains the influenza vaccine should cover for the following year. Once the vaccine strains have been decided, WHO then prepare the virus for use in manufacturing the vaccine. Once the vaccine has been tested to ensure it will protect against the specified strain, is safe and grows in eggs, it is then tested one last time and then sent to vaccine manufacturers for mass creation.

If you are unsure if the flu vaccine is suitable for you or your family speak with your health care professional for personalised advice.


Sources & Citations

2. Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI). Australian Immunisation Handbook - Influenza. Available at: (accessed 11 March 2020).

8. World Health Organization. Influenza vaccine viruses and reagents. Available at: (accessed 11 March).

9. World Health Organization. Pandemic influenza vaccine manufacturing process and timeline. Available at: (accessed 11 March 2020).

SPANZ.IFLU.18.04.0165(3)a Date of preparation- March 2020