Published: 3 July 2022

Safety Information

Spontaneous reports: Seasonal influenza vaccination 2022

Medsafe advises people NOT to make any decisions about vaccination based on information contained in this report. If you have questions or concerns about receiving a vaccine, please speak to a health care professional.

This page provides information on the number of adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) reports received for influenza vaccines.

New reporting format

We have a new reporting format for 2022, including reporting on ethnicity and age distribution. We can also report on the number of vaccines administered for 2021 and 2022 (instead of doses distributed as in previous reports). Therefore, this report includes data for 2021 and 2022.

Influenza vaccines administered and number of AEFI reports

The 2022 Influenza Immunisation Programme started on 1 April 2022. There were four approved quadrivalent vaccines, two of which were funded for eligible people:

  • Afluria Quad for children and adults aged from 3 years (funded)
  • Afluria Quad Junior for children aged under 3 years, ie, 6–35 months (funded)
  • Fluad Quad for adults aged 65 years or older
  • Fluquadri for children and adults 6 months of age and older.

More than 1.2 million doses of influenza vaccine were administered in 2022 (Table 1).

The Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM) received 221 AEFI reports for influenza vaccines in 2022 (Table 1), significantly less than the number of reports in 2021. However, the COVID-19 Immunisation Programme was rolled out in 2021 and may have raised awareness of reporting AEFIs in that year.

Table 1: AEFI reports for influenza vaccines, vaccine doses administered and estimated reporting rates, 2021 to 2022

  2021 2022
Number of reportsa 425 221
Influenza doses administeredb 912,054 1,287,194
Estimated reporting rate per 100,000 doses administered 46.6 17.2
  1. Source: Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring
  2. Source: Te Whatu Ora, Flu vaccinations Qlik application, data extracted 19 June 2023.

Serious reports

A serious AEFI is defined as any reaction that results in death or is life-threatening, causes or prolongs hospitalisation, results in persistent or significant disability/incapacity, is a congenital abnormality or is a medically important event.

There were fewer serious reports received in 2022 compared to 2021 (Table 2).

Table 2: AEFI reports for influenza vaccines, number and percentage of non-serious and serious reports, 2021 to 2022

Report type 2021 2022
No. % No. %
Non-serious 393 92.5 210 95.0
Serious 32 7.5 11 5.0

Reports by ethnicity and age

Reports by ethnicity and age are shown in Tables 3 and 4, respectively.

Table 3: AEFI reports for influenza vaccines by ethnicity, 2021 to 2022

Ethnicity 2021 2022
Māori 39 15
Pacific peoples 10 9
Asian 20 21
European or Other 352 171
Unknown 4 5
Total 425 221

Table 4: AEFI reports for influenza vaccines by age band, 2021 to 2022

Age band 2021 2022
Under 3 years 4 10
3 to 11 years 5 16
12 to 17 years 7 3
18 to 44 years 77 57
45 to 64 years 116 61
65 to 74 years 125 37
75 years and older 91 37
Total 425 221

AEFIs reported

The most commonly reported AEFIs in 2021 and 2022 were injection site inflammation, injection site pain, arm pain and dizziness (Tables 5 and 6).

Table 5: Top 10 most frequently reported AEFIs for influenza vaccines, 2021

AEFI No. of reports
Injection site inflammation 65
Injection site pain 63
Pain in extremity (arm or leg pain) 62
Dizziness 36
Nausea 36
Arthralgia (joint pain) 35
Headache 29
Pyrexia (fever) 26
Injection site swelling 22
Injection site erythema (redness) 20

Table 6: Top 10 most frequently reported AEFIs for influenza vaccines, 2022

AEFI No. of reports
Injection site inflammation 37
Injection site pain 36
Pain in extremity (arm or leg pain) 20
Dizziness 15
Headache 14
Paraesthesia (abnormal sensation, eg, 'pins and needles') 13
Nausea 12
Pyrexia (fever) 12
Arthralgia (joint pain) 10
Injection site pruritus (itching) 10

Who is reporting?

Anyone can submit a report. Figure1 and Table 7 show the number of reports by reporter type received for 2021 and 2022.

Figure 1: Number of reports received by reporter type, 2021 to 2022

Table 7: Number of reports received by reporter type, 2021 to 2022

Reporter type 2021 2022
Nurse 269 116
Pharmacist 63 35
General practitioner 51 23
Public 33 45
Hospital doctor 6 0
Other 3 2
Total 431 221

The total number of reports may from the total reported above because a single case can contain multiple reports from different sources.


Adverse event following immunisation (AEFI)
An AEFI is an untoward medical event which follows immunisation and does not necessarily have a causal relationship with the administration of the vaccine. The adverse event may be an unfavourable or unintended sign, abnormal laboratory finding, symptom or disease.

All medicines can cause side effects, the known side effects for influenza vaccines are listed in the data sheets and consumer medicine information (CMI).

Search for a data sheet or CMI
Serious adverse events following immunisation
An AEFI is considered serious if it:
  • is a medically important event or reaction
  • requires hospitalisation or prolongs an existing hospitalisation
  • causes persistent or significant disability or incapacity
  • is life threatening
  • causes a congenital anomaly/birth defect
  • results in death.
It is possible for different people to have experienced the same event but for the report to be serious for one person and non-serious for another person.

More information

Manatū Hauora – Ministry of Health information about influenza
How Medsafe monitors vaccine safety
Report a suspected adverse reaction
Suspected Medicine Adverse Reaction Search (SMARS)

Hide menus
Show menus
0 1 2 4 5 6 7 9 [ /