How is the flu vaccine made?

Have you ever wondered how we can be protected against the flu season after season?

In February and September each year, The World Health Organization (WHO) holds a conference with leading experts and influenza centres from around the world to make recommendations about the composition of the next season’s flu vaccine.

For Australia, and other countries in the Southern Hemisphere, the information from the September conference helps them plan for flu vaccines for the following winter. Looking at all the current information about influenza, including the recent patterns of flu epidemics across the world, they can predict which strains of flu are likely to be most common in the next flu season.

After the conference, the Australian Influenza Vaccine Committee meet with the Therapeutic Goods Administration to confirm which strains will be included in the Australian flu vaccine. From that prediction, the vaccine that you and I receive is created – usually containing three or four strain vaccines – and we are protected for another winter.