Over one million Kiwis have been vaccinated for the flu so far this year, but boosting the number of people who are protected over winter remains critical says Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand
Dr Nick Chamberlain, National Director, National Public Health Service says, “It’s great news to hear that today we have reached the milestone of one million people vaccinated against the flu in time for winter.
“We are ahead of where we were last year, and it's pleasing to know that people across the motu are getting the message about the importance and effectiveness of being immunised. We know how deadly the flu can be and there are still many people who are at high risk who have not been immunised so we are continuing to encourage everyone to get protected during Aotearoa Immunisation Week.”
Increasing the awareness of immunisation is the aim of the week, a joint initiative by Te Whatu Ora and Te Aka Whai Ora, which started on Monday 29 May and runs to Sunday 4 June.
“The week is a chance to put a spotlight on vaccinations, which is an important line of defence against winter illnesses, and we’re encouraging everyone to be protected. As well as getting the flu vaccine, we are encouraging all New Zealanders to get up-to-date with all their vaccinations, including COVID-19, measles and whooping cough.”
There are over a thousand immunisation opportunities available at clinics, pharmacies and with GPs throughout the motu, including more than 130 community vaccination events as part of Aotearoa Immunisation Week. Many employers offer free or subsidised flu jabs for their staff. We also acknowledge our hard-working vaccination providers across the motu who are key to supporting these activities.
More than 1.4 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed to meet the demand.
Dr Nick Chamberlain says, “This year we wanted as many people as possible to be immunised, so access to the funded influenza vaccine was extended. The flu vaccine is now free for people aged 65 years and over, Māori and Pacific people aged 55 years and over, pregnant people, and people who have long-term conditions like diabetes, asthma, or heart conditions, children aged 6 months to 12 years old, and people with mental health and addiction issues.”
Dr Nick Chamberlain says, “Flu can be a very serious disease for people, particularly for those whose immunity is already weakened by other conditions. Every winter, hospitals and the healthcare system see a big increase in admissions for respiratory infections and other illnesses associated with the season, so it’s important to protect yourself and your whānau from winter illnesses. The flu vaccine reduces the likelihood of ending up in hospital if you get sick this winter. Because it is so effective in preventing Flu, it also means you won't be tying up your GP, Hauora provider, or Pharmacist who are also under extreme pressure during winter.”
Flu vaccines are available from your doctor, nurse, or healthcare provider. Everyone over three years old can get a flu vaccine at many pharmacies.
Flu vaccines for an individual, or a group, can also be booked online through Book My Vaccine.
For more information about Aotearoa Immunisation Week and to find events in your local area go to www.Immunise.Health.nz
Ally Clelland, Senior Media Advisor, Te Whatu Ora
022 044 2161 firstname.lastname@example.org