WHO recommendations

The World Health Organisation (WHO) makes annual recommendations on the compositions of influenza vaccines for each hemisphere. These are based on the available data on the antigenic and genetic characteristics of recently circulating viruses and antibody responses to recent vaccines.

The recommendations from each WHO meeting are given below.

September 2019

In September 2019, the WHO recommended that quadrivalent influenza vaccines in use for the influenza season (southern hemisphere winter 2020) contain:

  • an A/Brisbane/02/2018 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus; 
  • an A/South Australia/34/2019 (H3N2)-like virus; 
  • a B/Washington/02/2019-like (B/Victoria lineage) virus; and 
  • a B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (B/Yamagata lineage) virus.

It is recommended that trivalent vaccines for use in the 2020 southern hemisphere influenza season contain the following:

  • an A/Brisbane/02/2018 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus; 
  • an A/South Australia/34/2019 (H3N2)-like virus; and
  • a B/Washington/02/2019-like (B/Victoria lineage) virus.

The recommendation has been published on the WHO website and will be published in the Weekly Epidemiological Record.

February/March 2019

In February 2019, the WHO recommended that egg-based quadrivalent influenza vaccines in use for the influenza season (northern hemisphere winter 2019/2020) contain:

  • an A/Brisbane/02/2018 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
  • a B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus;
  • a B/Colorado/06/2017-like virus;
  • but no recommendation was made at that time for the H3N2 component.

It was recommended that egg-based trivalent vaccines for use in the Northern Hemisphere winter 2019/2020 influenza season contain the following:

  • an A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
  • a B/Colorado/06/2017-like virus (B/Victoria/2/87 lineage),
  • but no recommendation was made at that time for the H3N2 component.

In March 2019 it was recommended that:

  • that the H3N2 component of trivalent and quadrivalent influenza vaccines should contain an A/Kansas/14/2017 (H3N2)-like virus.

The recommendation has been published on the WHO website and in the Weekly Epidemiological Record, vol 94, 141-160. An update in the Weekly Epidemiological Record will be published in due course.

September 2018

In September 2018, the WHO recommended that egg-based quadrivalent influenza vaccines in use for the influenza season (southern hemisphere winter 2019) contain:

  • an A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
  • an A/Switzerland/8060/2017 (H3N2)-like virus;
  • a B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus;
  • a B/Colorado/06/2017-like virus.

It is recommended that egg-based trivalent vaccines for use in the 2019 southern hemisphere influenza season contain the following:

  • an A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
  • an A/Switzerland/8060/2017 (H3N2)-like virus;
  • a B/Colorado/06/2017-like virus (B/Victoria/2/87 lineage).

It is recommended that the A(H3N2) component of non-egg based vaccines for use in the 2019 southern hemisphere influenza season be an A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016-like virus together with the other vaccine components as indicated above.

The recommendation has been published on the WHO website and in the Weekly Epidemiological Record vol 93, 553-576.

February 2018

In February 2018, the WHO recommended that quadrivalent influenza vaccines in use for the influenza season (northern hemisphere winter 2018/2019) contain:

  • an A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
  • an A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016 (H3N2)-like virus;
  • a B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus
  • a B/Colorado/06/2017-like virus.

It is recommended that the influenza B virus component of trivalent vaccines for use in the 2018-2019 northern hemisphere influenza season be a B/Colorado/06/2017-like virus of the B/Victoria/2/87-lineage. The recommendation has been published in the Weekly Epidemiological Record Vol 93, 133-152 

September 2017

In September 2017, the WHO recommended that influenza vaccines in use for the influenza season (southern hemisphere winter) contain:

  • an A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
  • an A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016 (H3N2)-like virus;
  • a B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus.

It was also recommended that quadrivalent vaccines containing two influenza B viruses contain the above three viruses and a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus.

The recommendation has been published in the  Weekly Epidemiological Record Vol 92, 625-633

February/March 2017

In March 2017, the WHO recommended that influenza vaccines in use for the 2017/2018 influenza season (northern hemisphere winter) contain:

  • an A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
  • an A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus;
  • a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus.

It was also recommended that quadrivalent vaccines containing two influenza B viruses contain the above three viruses and a B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus.

The recommendation has been published in the  Weekly Epidemiological Record Vol 92, 117-128.

September 2016

In September 2016, the WHO recommended that influenza vaccines in use for the 2017 influenza season (southern hemisphere winter) contain:

  • an A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
  • an A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus;
  • a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus.

It was also recommended that quadrivalent vaccines containing two influenza B viruses contain the above three viruses and a B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus.

The report has been published in the Weekly Epidemiological Record Vol 91, 469-484.

February 2016

In February 2016, the WHO recommended that influenza vaccines in use for the 2016/2017 influenza season (northern hemisphere winter) contain:

  • an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
  • an A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus;
  • a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus.

It was also recommended that quadrivalent vaccines containing two influenza B viruses contain the above three viruses and a B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus.

The report is available  online and has been published in the Weekly Epidemiological Record Vol 91, 121-132. 

September 2015

In September 2015, the WHO recommended that influenza vaccines in use for the 2016 influenza season (southern hemisphere winter) contain:

  • an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
  • an A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus;
  • a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus.

It was also recommended that quadrivalent vaccines containing two influenza B viruses contain the above three viruses and a B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus.

The report is available online and has been published in the Weekly Epidemiological Record Vol 90, 561-576. 

February 2015

In February 2015, the WHO recommended that influenza vaccines in use for the 2015/2016 influenza season (northern hemisphere winter) contain:

  • an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
  • an A/Switzerland/9715293/2013 (H3N2)-like virus;
  • a B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus.

It was also recommended that quadrivalent vaccines containing two influenza B viruses contain the above three viruses and a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus.

The report is available online and has been published in the Weekly Epidemiological Record Vol 90, 93-104.

September 2014

In September 2013 the WHO recommended that trivalent vaccines for use in the 2014 influenza season (southern hemisphere winter) contain the following:

  • an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
  • an A/Switzerland/9715293/2013 (H3N2)-like virus;
  • a B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus.

It was recommended that quadrivalent vaccines containing two influenza B viruses contain the above three viruses and a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus.

The report has been published in the Weekly Epidemiological Record Vol 89, 441-456

February 2014

In February 2014, the WHO recommended that influenza vaccines in use for the 2014/2015 influenza season (northern hemisphere winter) contain:

  • an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
  • an A/Texas/50/2012 (H3N2)-like virus;
  • a B/Massachusetts/2/2012-like virus.

It was also recommended that quadrivalent vaccines containing two influenza B viruses contain the above three viruses and a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus.

The report has been published in the Weekly Epidemiological Record Vol 89, 105-116.

September 2013

In September 2013 the WHO recommended that trivalent vaccines for use in the 2014 influenza season (southern hemisphere winter) contain the following:

  • an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
  • an A/Texas/50/2012 (H3N2)-like virus;
  • a B/Massachusetts/2/2012-like virus.

It was recommended that quadrivalent vaccines containing two influenza B viruses contain the above three viruses and a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus.

The report was published in the Weekly Epidemiological Record Vol 88, 437-448

February 2013

In February 2013 the WHO recommended that trivalent vaccines for use in the 2013-14 influenza season (northern hemisphere winter) contain the following:

  • an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
  • an A(H3N2) virus antigenically like the cell-propagated prototype virus A/Victoria/361/2011;
  • a B/Massachusetts/2/2012-like virus.

It was recommended that quadrivalent vaccines containing two influenza B viruses contain the above three viruses and a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virusc.

The report was published in the Weekly Epidemiological Record Vol 88, 101-116

September 2012

In September 2012 the WHO recommended that vaccines for use in the 2012 influenza season (southern hemisphere) contain the following:

  • an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
  • an A/Victoria/361/2011 (H3N2)-like virus; -
  • a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus.

The report was published in the Weekly Epidemiological Record Vol 87, 389-400.

February 2012

In February 2012 WHO recommended that vaccines for use in the 2012-2013 influenza season (northern hemisphere winter) contain the following:

  • an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
  • an A/Victoria/361/2011 (H3N2)-like virus;
  • a B/Wisconsin/1/2010-like virus.

The report was published in the Weekly Epidemiological Record Vol 87, 81-96

September 2011

In September 2011, the WHO recommended that influenza vaccines in use for the 2012 influenza season (southern hemisphere winter) contain:

  • an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)-like virus an A/Perth/16/2009 (H3N2)-like virus a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus (WER 2011, 86, 457-468: Weekly Epidemiological Record)

Weekly Epidemiological Record 86, 457-468. Recommended composition of influenza vaccines for use in the 2012 southern hemisphere influenza season.

February 2011

In February 2011, the WHO recommended that influenza vaccines in use for the 2011-2012 influenza season (northern hemisphere winter) contain:

  • an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)-like virus
  • an A/Perth/16/2009 (H3N2)-like virus
  • a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus (WER 2011, 86, 81-91: Weekly Epidemiological Record)

Weekly Epidemiological Record 86, 81-91 Recommended composition of influenza virus vaccines for use in the 2011-2012 northern hemisphere influenza season.

September 2010

In September 2010, the WHO recommended that influenza vaccines for use in the 2011 influenza season (southern hemisphere winter) contain:

  • an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)-like virus
  • an A/Perth/16/2009 (H3N2)-like virus
  • a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus

(WER 2010, 85, 401-412: Weekly Epidemiological Record)

February 2010

In February 2010, the WHO recommended that influenza vaccines for use in the 2010/2011 influenza season (northern hemisphere winter) contain:

  • an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)-like virus
  • an A/Perth/16/2009 (H3N2)-like virus
  • a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus

(WER 2010, 85, 81-92: Weekly Epidemiological Record)

September 2009

In September 2009, the WHO recommended that influenza vaccines for use in the 2010 influenza season (southern hemisphere winter) contain:

  • an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)-like virus
  • an A/Perth/16/2009 (H3N2)-like virus
  • a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus

(WER 2009, 84, 421-432; Weekly Epidemiological Record)

February 2009

In February 2009, the WHO recommended that influenza vaccines for use in the 2009 - 2010 influenza season (northern hemisphere winter) contain:

  • an A/Brisbane/59/2007 (H1N1)-like virus
  • A/South Dakota/6/2007 (an A/Brisbane/59/2007-like virus) is a current vaccine virus used in live attenuated vaccines
  • an A/Brisbane/10/2007 (H3N2)-like virus
  • A/Brisbane/10/2007 and A/Uruguay/716/2007 (an A/Brisbane/10/2007-like virus) are current vaccine viruses
  • a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus
  • B/Brisbane/33/2008 is a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus

(WER 2009, 84, 65-72; Weekly Epidemiological Record)