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Influenza Vaccination Available

17 May 2005

Influenza Vaccination Available

Ninety-six-year-old Elsie McLean and her great-granddaughter Katherine Kennedy shared immunisation stories last week when the pair met up at Leighton House Rest Home.

Mrs McLean had just received her annual influenza immunisation while Katherine had been vaccinated against Meningococcal B disease.

For Elsie, who has trouble with her sight but still possesses an inquisitive mind, getting immunised against the latest strains of influenza is something she always agrees to.

This year she was one of around 50 Leighton House residents to be immunised with the free immunisation for over-65-year-olds.

Elsie’s granddaughter, and Katherine’s mum, is McLean’s Pharmacy pharmacist Barbara McLean. She fully supports her grandmother’s decision to be immunised.

“In older people, and those with ongoing medical conditions, influenza can lead to hospitalisation,” she said. “So I am thrilled that Granny still takes advantage of them. Influenza is contagious so I would hate to think how quickly it might spread through a rest home.”

Barbara McLean said she too plans to be immunised this week.

“I’ve always thought that I am fit and healthy and have no need for a flu jab but that is just one of the myths,” she said. “Influenza can make even fit people who get it feel thoroughly awful. Body aches, fever and chills are just some of the symptoms."

Local GPs are now offering the Vaxigrip influenza immunisation to New Zealanders who are well and aged under 65.

As well as supporting her grandmother, as a pharmacist Barbara McLean has joined with her pharmacist colleagues this year in an attempt to get more people, especially those with chronic conditions, immunised against influenza.

The pharmacists recognise that people with chronic conditions are more at risk of complications from influenza. Those conditions include heart disease, stroke, ongoing respiratory diseases, diabetes, ongoing kidney disease and most cancers.

“So when we dispense the type of medication that might be used for these conditions, I try and talk to the person and see if they have considered an influenza injection this time round,” she said.

“Influenza immunisation is the best protection against influenza.”


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