Health Minister Jonathan Coleman today launched the annual influenza immunisation campaign at a community diabetes clinic in Porirua, Wellington.
“More than one million New Zealanders get immunised against influenza each year,” says Dr Coleman.
“By being immunised, we not only protect ourselves, but we help to ensure we don’t pass on influenza to our families, friends and colleagues.
“This year the influenza vaccine has two new strains to ensure New Zealanders are better protected this winter from the strains of influenza circulating around the world.
“One of the ongoing challenges of the influenza programme is improving immunisation coverage for groups who are eligible for free immunisation, particularly among people with ongoing medical conditions.”
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.
The vaccine will be funded for eligible patients until the end of July. Similar to previous years, a total of 1.2 million doses are expected to be distributed.
Media contact: Kirsty Taylor-Doig 021 838 372
Notes to editors
The influenza vaccine for the 2016 season includes two new strains based on recommendations from the World Health Organization. The composition is:
- A/California/7/2009 (H1N1) – like virus
- A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2) – like virus (new)
- B/Brisbane/60/2008 – like virus (new)
For further information go to www.fightflu.co.nz or www.health.govt.nz/influenza or call 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863).