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Flu vaccination campaign on track for all patients

18 April 2005

Flu vaccination campaign on track for all patients

DELIVERY and distribution of flu vaccines for this season is on track, the Ministry of Health and Pharmac said today.

Deputy Director general of Public Health, Dr Don Matheson says that supplies of the full strength vaccine have already started to arrive and distribution will start later this week. He understood significant amounts of the lower strength Vaxigrip vaccine,which will be used for healthy New Zealanders aged under 65, is also in the country and is being distributed.

" The Ministry of Health and Pharmac have secured 518,000 doses of full-strength vaccine all of which will have arrived in the country by mid May. Based on last year ' s uptake this will be sufficient to cover the number of eligible people who want to receive a subsidised flu vaccination ,." Dr Matheson says. Three vaccines are being used to vaccinate at-risk New Zealanders this year Fluvax, Fluarix and INfluvac .

" The first stocks of the full-strength vaccines which are for those most at risk of influenza are already in the country and ready for distribution" says Dr Matheson.

Dr Matheson acknowledged the support of the primary care sector in dealing with the programme in what had been a time of uncertainty.

PHARMAC Medical Director Dr Peter Moodie said by the end of this week there will be 100,000 doses of full-strength vaccines available; however it is important to remember that further stocks will arrive in early May. In the first instance doctors should ensure that these early stocks go to those patients who are at high risk of influenza complications.

"We are expecting a further 180,000 doses of full strength vaccine to arrive in the week beginning 2 May, with a further 230,000 arriving in the week beginning 9 May."

Some practices who had placed large orders may only receive part of that order at this stage, but they would be fully filled once more stock became available.

"We understand that MSD (the suppliers of Vaxigrip) have already imported at least 250,000 doses of Vaxigrip - the vaccine for the general population. We understand that 80,000 doses have already been distributed - 40,000 to North Island vaccinators and South Island vaccinators are receiving nearly the same amount from today, " says Dr Matheson.

"As vaccinators reconfirm their orders - necessary because we are using more than one vaccine this year - they will be filled as fast as possible, to ensure vaccinators are able to immunise those patients who want protection against influenza," Dr Moodie says.

ENDS

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