Campaign to protect Kiwis against flu starts

12 March 2013

Health Minister Tony Ryall rolled up his sleeves at Karori Medical Centre in Wellington today to receive his annual influenza vaccination and launch the 2013 influenza immunisation campaign.

“We want more New Zealanders to be protected against this serious disease – this year the goal is to vaccinate 1.2 million people,” says Mr Ryall.

“Around 400 New Zealanders die, directly or indirectly, each year from influenza. Last year the disease put more than a thousand people in hospital and nearly 50,000 people visited their GP with influenza-like-illness.”

Mr Mark McIlroy was also at the launch today to encourage more people to be immunised. His wife, Catherine (49), had been a previously fit and healthy woman when she was struck down by the A(H3N2) influenza virus in July 2012. She died of the disease within five days of showing symptoms.

The influenza vaccine for 2013 Southern Hemisphere season includes two new strains based upon recommendations from the World Health Organization. The vaccine this year includes:

  • A/California/7/2009(H1N1) pdm09-like virus
  • A/Victoria/361/2011(H3N2)-like virus (new strain for 2013)
  • B/Wisconsin/1/2010-like virus (new strain for 2013).
“Last year over one million New Zealanders had a flu vaccination – around 23 per cent of the population. However we want more people to be protected and I encourage you to get your flu vaccination, especially if you are in one of the at risk groups,” says Mr Ryall.

The flu vaccination is free to those at greatest risk of serious influenza complications, including New Zealanders over the age of 65, pregnant women and people with on-going health conditions such as asthma or heart problems.

People who are not eligible for the programme can purchase the vaccine from their general practitioner or selected pharmacies.

For further information go to or call 0800 IMMUNE 0800 466 863.

Photograph of Health Minister Tony Ryall receiving his annual influenza vaccination from Robyn Taylor a nurse at Karori Medical Centre.

Ministry of Health media contact:

Jackie Maher
021 243 7803 or

Jannel Carter
027 589 8884

Hon Tony Ryall
Minister of Health

Last updated: Wednesday, March 13, 2013

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