More than 1.2m flu vaccine doses distributed



Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman

Minister of Health

31 July 2015

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says the Government has reached its target of immunising 1.2 million New Zealanders with the influenza vaccine this year.

“For the third year in a row more than 1.2 million doses of influenza vaccine have been distributed across the country,” says Dr Coleman.

“This winter there are higher rates of influenza in New Zealand than the last two years which have been relatively mild. Influenza-like illnesses have increased rapidly in late July, with influenza A(H3N2) and influenza B the most common strains in circulation. Both are covered by this year’s vaccine.

“Due to the late onset of the influenza season this year the free influenza immunisation programme was extended until the end of August. With influenza now at relatively high levels in our communities, it’s still not too late to get vaccinated.

“I am pleased to hear that health professionals are protecting themselves and their patients by getting immunised. Last year, more than 60 per cent of health professionals employed at DHBs received the vaccine, and early indications suggest this year’s rates are even higher.”

The vaccine is free for people aged 65 years and over, pregnant women, those with long term health conditions such as severe asthma, and children under five years who have been hospitalised for a respiratory illness.

It is particularly recommended for pregnant women as the vaccine offers protection to both mother and baby. People with Down Syndrome and those with cochlear implants are also now eligible for the vaccine.

The influenza vaccine is also available for purchase from general practices and many pharmacies for those who are not eligible for the free vaccine.

For free health advice, call Healthline 0800 611 116.  For advice about influenza immunisation visit www.fightflu.co.nz or text FLU to 515.

 

Media contact: Kirsty Taylor-Doig 021 838 372

 


Last updated: Tuesday, August 4, 2015

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