Over one million New Zealanders have had a flu vaccination this year – and more are expected to with the free seasonal flu vaccination scheme for eligible people open until the end of the month.
“District health boards, doctors, practice nurses and some pharmacists have done a great job to help so many New Zealanders be protected against seasonal flu this year,” says Health Minister Tony Ryall.
“This is the second time we have reached this milestone – the other was in 2010, the second year of the swine flu pandemic, when around 1.02 million New Zealanders had a flu vaccination.
Last year around 990,000 doses were distributed during the whole season.
“New Zealand is now well and truly into the winter flu season. Our flu season often lasts around 8 – 10 weeks, so we are likely to have a few more weeks of flu circulating around the country and I urge people to get vaccinated," says Mr Ryall.
“Although flu can be a mild to moderate illness for most of us, for some people, it can lead to serious complications – even death.
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 ongoing health conditions such as asthma or heart problems.
People who are not eligible for the programme can purchase the vaccine from their general practitioner.
Information about influenza immunisation can be found at www.fightflu.co.nz or text FLU to 515, or call Healthline 0800 611 116.
Media contact: Jackie Maher 021 243 7803 or Jannel Carter 027 589 8884