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New research has experts concerned Australians are still too complacent about flu

• 33% of Australian adults say that flu is only somewhat serious (while it can get people very sick and put in hospital, they cannot die from it). 14% say it’s not very, or not at all, serious1.
• Nearly half (46%) of Australians want their GP or pharmacist to discuss prevention options, including vaccination, so they can make a more informed choice about their health this flu season1.
• Following the 2022 flu season and signs that cases are already on the rise this year,2 experts are concerned that Australians are underestimating the seriousness of flu.


New research shows many Australians continue to remain complacent about the potential seriousness of influenza (flu), despite the significantly higher cases already reported this year compared to last year2, and increasing international travel.3

According to the latest data from the Department of Health (current as at the date of this News Release), there have been over 15,000 confirmed flu cases already in 2023.2 In 2022, this volume of confirmed cases wasn’t seen until early May.2

The Australian Attitudes to Influenza Index, commissioned by Australian vaccine company CSL Seqirus, asked 1,017 adults aged 18 years and over about their attitudes to flu. The results showed that one third of adults (33%) say that flu is only somewhat serious (while it can get people very sick and put in hospital, they cannot die from it), with 14% saying it’s not very, or not at all, serious1.

There are also clear generational gaps in recognition of the seriousness of flu with only 20% of 18 to 24-year-olds indicating flu is very serious (people can die from it) compared with nearly 60% of those 65 years and older1.

In 2022, more than 50% (126,988) of confirmed flu cases were in younger populations (24 years and younger) 4 and less than 10% (16,819) of notifications occurred in people aged over 655.

Professor Robert Booy, leading paediatrician and infectious disease expert, says the survey results are concerning given that flu circulation is returning to pre-pandemic levels.

“Underestimating the potential seriousness of flu may place a significant burden on the public health system,” said Professor Booy.

“People need to remember that we’ve had some bad flu seasons in Australia, with modelling data from 2010-2019 estimating that we averaged nearly 2,800 annual deaths related to flu, with more than 6,400 estimated deaths in 2017 and over 5,200 in 2019.6

“Last year, we also saw younger populations make up a higher proportion of hospitalisations compared to previous years, so it’s important we have high vaccination rates across all age groups.5

“We’re already seeing higher rates of influenza compared to this time last year.2 It is almost impossible to predict when the flu season will peak, so it’s important to talk to your GP or pharmacist now about your choices for prevention. It’s also important to maintain regular hand washing, staying at home if you’re feeling unwell, and coughing or sneezing into your elbow if you don’t have a tissue to help minimise the spread of flu.”

The research also gave insight into Australian attitudes towards flu vaccination, with 58% of Australians unaware of what prevention options are available, and nearly 1 in 2 adults (46%) wanting their GP or pharmacist to discuss these options so they can make a more informed choice about their health this flu season1.

Dr Zac Turner is a GP with a focus on preventative health and is part of a campaign to raise awareness of the disease. He’s urging all Australians to stay vigilant about the flu and to talk to their GP or pharmacist about the best ways to protect themselves.

“In my experience, there is a lack of awareness around the potential severity of flu, and the difference between the flu and a common cold. While many people have fairly mild flu symptoms, for some it can be a very serious disease."

“Every year, hospitals receive more admissions for flu than they should as the severity of this disease is largely preventable. Even those who don’t get significant complications, can still experience symptoms lasting up to a week. This means people may miss out on work, social events, holidays and other commitments,” commented Dr Turner.

Dr Turner wants to remind Australians that they have options when it comes to protecting themselves from the flu.

“I strongly encourage Australians to talk to their doctor or pharmacist about flu and their prevention options, including vaccination, which can help people understand which option is right for them. Having this conversation will help people understand the best way to protect themselves and others in their family or community.”

Influenza vaccinations are available in most pharmacies from this week for people not eligible for free vaccines under the National Immunisation Program. Speak with a healthcare professional for further information.


Further results from the survey

  • More respondents in Queensland (41%) were unsure or definitely not intending to be vaccinated against flu in 2023 compared to the national average (37%) or those in Western Australia (26%).1
  • Overall, there has been an increase in the proportion of Australians that think flu is equally as serious as COVID-19:  42% in 2023 compared to 35% in a similar survey conducted in 2022.1

About the survey

This survey was conducted by YouGov on behalf of CSL Seqirus. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 1017 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 8th - 13th February 2023. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of Australian adults (aged 18+).

About CSL Seqirus

CSL Seqirus is part of CSL Limited (ASX: CSL). As one of the largest influenza vaccine providers in the world, CSL Seqirus is a major contributor to the prevention of influenza globally and a transcontinental partner in pandemic preparedness. With state-of-the-art production facilities in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia, and leading R&D capabilities, CSL Seqirus utilizes egg, cell and adjuvant technologies to offer a broad portfolio of differentiated influenza vaccines in more than 20 countries around the world.

In Australia, CSL Seqirus operates the only local manufacturing facility for seasonal and pandemic influenza vaccine and produces a range of unique medicines in the national interest including antivenoms and the world’s only human vaccine for Q fever. The company also in-licenses a broad range of paediatric and adult vaccines and specialty pharmaceutical products.

About CSL

CSL (ASX: CSL; USOTC: CSLLY) is a leading global biotechnology company with a dynamic portfolio of lifesaving medicines, including those that treat haemophilia and immune deficiencies, as well as vaccines to prevent influenza. Since our start in 1916, we have been driven by our promise to save lives using the latest technologies. Today, CSL – including our three businesses, CSL Behring, CSL Seqirus and CSL Vifor – provides lifesaving products to patients in more than 100 countries and employs 30,000 people. Our unique combination of commercial strength, R&D focus and operational excellence enables us to identify, develop and deliver innovations so our patients can live life to the fullest. For inspiring stories about the promise of biotechnology, visit and follow us on

For more information about CSL, visit

Intended Audience

This press release is issued from CSL Seqirus in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia and is intended to provide information to consumer media. Please be aware that information relating to the approval status and labels of approved CSL Seqirus products may vary from country to country. Please consult your local regulatory authority on the approval status of Seqirus products.


Hamish Walsh
CSL Seqirus
0422 424 338


  1. Australian Attitudes to Influenza Index. Conducted by YouGov on behalf of CSL Seqirus. Fieldwork was undertaken between 8th - 13th February 2023.
  2. Department of Health and Aged Care. National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System. Dashboard  · NNDSS Portal ( Accessed March 2023
  3. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia, December 2022 | Australian Bureau of Statistics ( Accessed March 2023
  4. Department of Health and Aged Care. National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System. Dashboard  · NNDSS Portal ( Accessed March 2023
  5. Australian Government, Department of Health and Aged Care, National 2022 Influenza Season Summary, ( accessed March 2022.
  6. Muscatello, D et al. Vaccine vol. 39,52 (2021): 7578-7583. Accessed March 2023
AU-FLU-23-0037. 24 March 2023