Flu season predictions 2022-2023

Every year, we monitor the Australian winter flu season (January to August) and use this information to predict how we will fare in the UK. With this knowledge, our clients can begin to plan for the likely impact on their workforce, and help further support the wellbeing of their people.

It’s important to note that this is not an exact science, but it does give us some key findings on which to base our prognosis.

It is key to remember that due to the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic, data reported for influenza may not represent an accurate reflection of activity. Results should be interpreted with caution, especially when we look at previous seasons. Interpretation of flu activity data from April 2020 onwards should consider, among other things, the impact of social distancing measures in place due to COVID-19 on infectious respiratory diseases.

The following findings, conclusions and recommendations have been gathered by Adam Hadfield, Clinical Governance Manager at GoodShape.

Findings - activity

  • This year, influenza-like-illness (ILI) activity in Australia peaked in May and June, greatly exceeding the 5-year average.

  • From mid-July, Australia's weekly number of notifications of laboratory-confirmed flu in 2022 has since decreased to below the 5-year average.

  • According to the latest Australian Influenza Surveillance Report update, there have been 216,725 notifications reported to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) in Australia this year, of which 3,907 notifications had a diagnosis date in the last fortnight.

Findings - severity

  • In the year to date, of the 216,725 notifications of laboratory-confirmed influenza within Australia, 273 flu-associated deaths have been notified to the NNDSS.

  • Since commencement of seasonal surveillance in April 2022, there have been 1,666 hospital admissions due to flu reported across sentinel hospitals sites throughout Australia, of which 6.7% were admitted directly to ICU.


In conclusion, stated predictions are not an exact science but we can predict the UK will have an above average flu season in 2022/2023. In Australia, due to the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions, travel, and a general return to normality, we have seen an exponential explosion of flu infections alongside COVID-19 as the population's social activity returns to normal.

By comparison, there were only 584 confirmed cases of influenza in Australia in 2020/2021 compared to (so far) 216,725 cases in 2021/2022 (over a 37,000% increase!)

However, due to the fact that the UK exited COVID-19 restrictions a lot sooner than Australia, it is difficult to predict whether we will see a similar high percentage increase this year in the UK, as we have been 'living with COVID' for longer.


For individuals:

  • Get the flu vaccination if you’re eligible.
  • Be sensible with your social activities.
  • If you feel unwell, avoid large crowds or meeting with vulnerable adults to prevent the spread not only of influenza but also COVID-19, which still remains in circulation in the population.

For employers:

  • Encourage employees to get a seasonal flu vaccine, or consider offering subsidised vaccine vouchers (available through your healthcare provider or FluVouchers.co.uk).
  • Develop and review sick leave policies, where possible allowing employees to work from home to minimise spread.
  • In the past couple of years living with COVID, we've all become accustomed to ensuring our work environments are clean and safe. Providing tissues, no-touch bins, hand sanitiser stations, as well as clear information on hygiene, are all great ways of minimising risk.
We must prepare for the unpredictability of flu and put plans into place in 2022/2023 to ensure the impact on the vulnerable and health and social care is as minimalised as it can be.


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