1 million doses of influenza vaccine distributed



Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman

Minister of Health

3 May 2016

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says more than one million doses of seasonal influenza vaccine have now been distributed across the country.

“New Zealanders are protecting themselves, their families and their communities from influenza. This is the fifth year in a row where more than a million doses have been distributed,” says Dr Coleman.

“This year the influenza immunisation programme has rolled out smoothly, with the vaccine moving out quickly since it was first available in early March.

“It’s a busy time of year for the sector as they work to protect the public against seasonal influenza in a tight timeframe. Most influenza immunisation takes place in March and April - we expect to reach our target of 1.2 million doses during July.”

It takes up to two weeks for the vaccine to start providing protection, so immunisation is recommended before the beginning of winter.

In the Northern Hemisphere this year the predominant strain was Influenza A/H1N1, which has historically been more likely to affect those aged under 65. This strain may predominate in New Zealand this winter.

Influenza immunisation is free for New Zealanders at high risk of complications, through their general practice. Many employers also provide free vaccination for their staff. Those who aren't eligible for free immunisation can purchase it from general practices and some pharmacies.

High risk groups include those with long term health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, respiratory disease, kidney disease, cancer, as well as pregnant women and people aged 65 and over.

Children aged 4 and under with a history of serious respiratory illness are also entitled to free influenza vaccination.

Media contact: Kirsty Taylor-Doig 021 838 372

 


Last updated: Tuesday, May 3, 2016

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