Monday 4 April 2022Media release3 minutes to read
There may be higher rates of influenza in New Zealand this winter with our borders reopening.
Influenza can cause serious illness and it is important that in the lead up to winter, people get their flu vaccination. 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.
If you haven’t had your COVID-19 vaccination or booster, you can get it at the same time as your flu immunisation. There is no need to leave a gap between these vaccinations.
Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, Dr Ramon Pink says that people who have been vaccinated against flu and double vaccinated or boosted against COVID-19 are at significantly lower risk of becoming seriously ill.
“We know that people might feel they’ve had a lot of vaccinations lately but please get the 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 Pink.
Who is eligible for funded influenza vaccinations this year?
Free influenza vaccinations are available for those who meet these eligibility criteria:
Flu vaccinations are available from your general practice team and many pharmacies. Please call your general practice team, local pharmacy or healthcare provider first to check availability and book an appointment, as some have reduced staffing due to the Omicron outbreak.
Dr Justin Fletcher, GP at Kaiapoi Medical Centre and member of the Canterbury Health System’s Technical Advisory Group, says you can get your flu vaccination any time.
“There doesn’t need to be a gap after your COVID-19 booster or after you have recovered from COVID-19 – just as long as you are feeling well on the day of your flu vaccination,” Dr Fletcher says.
“Flu vaccination can be hugely beneficial even if you aren’t eligible for a free vaccination. The cost is typically just $35-60 and is well worth it to avoid a miserable time with flu. It could also prevent sickness spreading to friends and family, and possibly having to take more time off work.”
Many workplaces also either hold vaccination clinics or give staff vouchers to get their flu vaccination.
You can get more information about the vaccine on the following webpages:
You can also call Healthline for advice on 0800 611 116 anytime or visit www.healthline.govt.nz
Page last updated: 16 June 2022
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