Thursday 19 May 2022Canterbury DHB News3 minutes to read
Getting a flu jab is your best defence against influenza and 100,000 Cantabrians have now received theirs. If you haven’t got yours, it’s important you get a flu vaccination as soon as you can.
Influenza is increasing in the community and it can cause serious illness. There may also be higher rates of influenza in New Zealand this winter with our borders reopening. Getting immunised against influenza protects our vulnerable communities, especially young children, older adults and people with chronic health problems, but anyone can become seriously ill from the flu virus.
“We know that people might feel they’ve had a lot of vaccinations lately but please get your flu vaccination as it provides the best protection against influenza, especially if you’re one of the people at greater risk of serious illness if you get the flu,” says Dr Ramon Pink, Canterbury Medical Officer of Health.
“We want to say a big thank you to all of those in our community who have already had their vaccination and now have the best protection against influenza. For many of you, getting your flu vaccination will be free and we really encourage you to get it as soon as possible.”
Currently flu vaccinations are free for pregnant women, those 65 years and older, Māori or Pasifika people 55 and over and people with chronic medical conditions such as respiratory disease, cancer and diabetes – this includes children under 5 years of age. Many workplaces also either hold vaccination clinics or give staff vouchers to get their flu vaccination.
The flu affects the whole body and can last up to a week or more. As you get older your immune system isn’t as good at protecting you, even if you feel fit and healthy.
“If you have a respiratory illness and test negative for COVID-19 on a Rapid Antigen Test, you could have influenza – please stay at home when you have respiratory symptoms even when it’s not COVID-19. This winter there is the very real possibility of having flu and COVID-19 within a short space of time,” says Dr Pink.
“If you've recently recovered from COVID-19, the flu, or any other illness, you can get your flu jab as soon as you're well. And if you are yet to have your COVID-19 vaccination or booster, you can get it at the same time. There is no need to leave a gap between these vaccinations.”
To prevent the spread of influenza, it is important that people keep up all the good healthy habits we have learnt from COVID-19, like wearing masks, opening windows and doors to increase ventilation where possible and practising good hygiene by regularly and thoroughly washing or sanitising your hands.
It is also important to seek medical advice early if you are concerned about your health, even if you have been seen before. Other serious conditions can also look like the flu, including meningococcal disease.
More information about flu vaccinations can be found here: https://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/diseases-and-illnesses/influenza/flu-influenza-vaccines.
For further information, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Page last updated: 19 May 2022
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