Source: New Zealand Government – Flu vaccines top one million doses
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says more than one million doses of seasonal influenza vaccine have now been distributed.
“This is the fourth year in a row where more than a million doses have been distributed,” says Dr Coleman. “New Zealanders are protecting themselves, their families and their communities from influenza.”
“This year, the influenza immunisation was delayed globally a few weeks so that two new vaccine strains could be incorporated.
“This will ensure New Zealanders are better protected this winter from the strains of influenza circulating around the world.
“The health sector has met that challenge admirably, with distribution fast catching up to last year’s total.
“DHBs, PHOs, doctors, nurses and pharmacists have worked tirelessly this year, to protect so many New Zealanders against seasonal flu in a tight timeframe.”
Influenza immunisation is free for New Zealanders at high risk of complications and is accessible through their local general practice and some pharmacies. Many employers also provide free vaccination.
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.
This year there is a particular focus on ensuring younger people with long term health conditions such as severe asthma or diabetes are protected.
The influenza vaccine for the 2015 season includes two new strains based on recommendations from the World Health Organization. The composition is:
- A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)-like virus
- A/Switzerland/9715293/2013 (H3N2)-like virus (New)
- B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus (New)
The publicly funded vaccine is available until the end of July 2015. For further information go to www.fightflu.co.nz or www.health.govt.nz/influenza or call 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863).