Each year, pre-booking of influenza vaccine (ordering doses for next year’s influenza season) begins before the current season is over. Practices should consider the following as they plan to order influenza vaccines for the upcoming season.

  • Assess how many influenza vaccine doses were used in the current season
    • How many doses were administered compared to the number of doses ordered? How many were unused?
  • Assess the number of eligible children to get vaccinated
    • Use your electronic health record (EHR) or the immunization information system (IIS) to identify eligible children for vaccination. Most EHRs and IISs can categorize the number of patients by date of birth.
    • Number of children in each age group
      • How many patients will be eligible to receive each product you plan to order based on their age, health status and preference?
    • Approximate number of new patients
      • New patients should also include the number of expected newborns who will be 6 months of age by the influenza season and will need 2 doses.
    • Number of children who will need two doses
      • Children age 6 months through 8 years of age who will receive influenza vaccine for the first time, or received only 1 dose before July 1, 2023, or whose vaccination status is unknown should receive 2 doses of influenza vaccine 4 weeks/28 days apart. All other children 6 months and older should receive 1 dose this season.
  • Type of vaccine to order
    • This will depend on age, health status and vaccine preference (IIV or LAIV).
  • Sufficient storage space for vaccines
    • Consider using an additional refrigerator during influenza season. If a vaccine refrigerator is packed too tightly, temperature fluctuations can occur and potentially make the influenza vaccine unusable. Consider which influenza vaccine you will stock and how much of each when planning storage needs.
    • Stagger shipping of vaccines to help prevent overloading storage units.

Pre-booking orders, deadlines, and returns

  • Pre-booking period for vaccine manufacturers generally take place until the end of March, with the option to continue to place orders if product is available.
  • Deadlines for pre-booking depend on each vaccine manufacturer and the Vaccines for Children program. It is important to make note of each manufacturer’s pre-booking deadline.
  • Some manufacturers allow customers to sign up for recurring reservations.
  • Manufacturers may offer discounts, other special promotions and/or delivery guarantees to customers who pre-book by the deadline.
  • Manufacturers and/or their distributors may offer the flexibility to return up to a certain percentage of a pre-booked order. Review return policies for each manufacturer before pre-booking.
  • Check with the vaccine manufacturer(s) on the terms related to adjusting an order prior to or after the pre-booking deadline.

Vaccines for Children (VFC) program

  • Each state immunization program may have specific timelines and processes for placing and completing pre-booking orders.
  • Your VFC program may not be able to guarantee the quantity and/or formulation availability of pre-booked influenza vaccines.
  • VFC providers who do not pre-book may encounter delays in receipt of influenza vaccine.
  • Refer to your local VFC program for pre-booking information.

For more information about pre-booking influenza vaccines, watch Planning for the Next Influenza Season: Pre-Booking – Red Book Online Webinar


Last Updated



American Academy of Pediatrics