Saturday, April 13, 2024

Million vaccinations a shot in the arm for winter flu

More than a million New Zealanders have received their flu vaccine in time for winter, Health Minister, Andrew Little announced today.

“Getting to one million doses by June is a significant milestone and sits closely behind the record 1.1 million doses administered in all of 2020,” Minister Little said.

“But with significant pressure on our health system over winter it’s important everyone eligible for a free flu jab gets one so there’s a hospital bed available for everyone who needs one.”

With international travel ramping up again and new flu strains entering the country this winter is already turning out to be a tougher flu season than usual, the Health Minister said.

“Currently influenza makes up around one third of hospital admissions. We can help reduce that by increasing vaccination rates even further,” he said.

“Around 64% of New Zealanders aged 65 and over have had their flu vaccine. This is the group most likely to end up in hospital, so it would be great to get that number even higher.”

The Government is funding free flu immunisations for over-65s, pregnant women, Māori and Pacific people who are aged over 55, patient and client-facing health and community care workers, and people with health conditions that put them at higher risk.

“If you’re in one of these groups and haven’t had your flu jab yet then it’s really important to get it now before the winter chills strike. Vaccination is the best way to protect ourselves from getting sick, and from making others around us sick.”

“People can get vaccinated at GP practices, pharmacies and many COVID-19 vaccination centres around all around New Zealand. Many employers offer free or subsidised flu jabs for their staff,” Mr Little said.

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