Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says it’s not too late to be protected against influenza, with influenza vaccine now free for eligible people until the end of the year.
“To date, more than 1.2 million flu vaccines have been distributed across the country, protecting more than a quarter of our population,” says Dr Coleman.
“We’re at the time of year when there’s a lot of winter illnesses like influenza around, and these usually continue into early spring. While it’s best to be protected before winter, it’s still worthwhile getting vaccinated now if you haven’t already.
“The Ministry of Health has extended the annual influenza programme until the end of December from this year onwards. This includes people, such as newly pregnant women or those who have just turned 65, who might not have been eligible for free immunisation before winter.”
Recent changes to the annual influenza immunisation programme have made vaccination more accessible to those at greater risk of complications from the disease.
Free influenza vaccination is available at many pharmacies, as well as general practices, for those aged 65 and over and pregnant women. Many people with serious health conditions can also get vaccinated for free at their general practice.
Free influenza immunisation is also available for those aged under 18 years living in Kaikoura, Hurunui, and Seddon or displaced from their homes in Edgecumbe and surrounding regions, as these areas have been affected by recent natural events.
Note to Editors:
For free health advice, call Healthline 0800 611 116. For advice about influenza immunisation visit www.fightflu.co.nz or text FLU to 515.
The funded influenza vaccine for the 2017 season includes the following strains based on recommendations from the World Health Organization:A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)-like virus A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus