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2005 Influenza vaccination programme

18 March 2005

2005 Influenza vaccination programme

Ministry of Health Deputy Director-General of Public Health Dr Don Matheson said the extra GSK vaccine was great news, and the Ministry would be urgently working with PHARMAC and the company on the critical issue of when it would be delivered.

``We're planning to start our influenza vaccination programme in April, so we can give New Zealanders the best and earliest possible protection against influenza,'' Dr Matheson said.

``These plans haven't changed. Early immunisation against influenza is still the best protection that can be offered and we are continuing to work with an expert group of clinicians on how best we can use the vaccine New Zealand will have available.

``The Ministry is working on developing a strategy that will deliver to New Zealanders similar levels of protection as in previous years, using a range of vaccines. We're on track with this work and expect to be able to announce further details next week, which will factor in all the vaccine supplies available. This will include influenza vaccine guidelines for health professionals who will be delivering the programme.''

Dr Matheson said he was very pleased with the response from a significant number of professional organisations and health professionals to provide information that's assisting with the Ministry's decision making.

``Getting advice and input from the people who deal with influenza and its complications every year is important, and we've had excellent support from the sector. We all want to deliver an influenza programme that is the best that it can be.''

The Ministry has set up a freephone information line, 0800 FLU INFO or 0800 358 4636. This is a recorded message and it will continue to be updated regularly as the situation develops.

ENDS

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